Smart Buildings: Vincent Callebaut Architectures’ Arboricole

WORDS Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures

This 9 400 square-metre project was created by Belgian ecological architect Vincent Callebaut together with developer Bouygues Immobilier and the French National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) as part of an international competition organised by the mayor of Angers in France.

With the incorporation of natural materials and vegetation in a modern urban environment, Arboricole is a prime example of biophilic design.

For Vincent, Arboricole is not a static building, but rather a living piece of architecture, whose balconies are dedicated to growing food. “Like a mature ecosystem, we want this inhabited tree to be a climatic hero that produces its own energy (be it heat, cold, or food) and recycles its own organic waste in short circuits,” he explains. “The curved plateaus are outlined according to the prevailing wind direction to avoid turbulence and maximise comfort on the food garden balconies.”

The building would hold a concert hall, bar, beer brewery, private and co-working office spaces, a rooftop restaurant, a nursery, a hotel residence and 50 apartments.

“Arboricole is a place of life and synergy,” says Vincent, “connected and connecting, evolving with the transformation of lifestyles and workstyles.”

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