I’ve taken a look at some stunning high-rise projects clad in lush vegetation — air pollution-filtering “plantscrapers,” if you will — in the past, but a quartet of mid- and low-rise towers covered from top to bottom in fragrant flowers? I believe that this would be a first.
Just in time for spring (yay!), come eye-popping design renderings for the Gardens of Anfa, a 50,000-square-meter development (three 16-story residential towers, a single 12-story office tower, and additional low-rise apartment blocks situated around a central piazza with underground parking) that's under construction in the bustling North African port city of Casablanca. When completed in 2017, I’m guessing that the project will be the sweetest-smelling mixed-use development not just in Africa but also in the entire world. Seriously, I bet you could smell these buildings from a mile away.
Designed by the vertical garden specialists at Paris-based Maison Edouard François, the Gardens of Anfa won't just offer a heavenly olfactory experience. Ring by what appears to be Jacaranda trees, the sprawling development will also be more than just a little bit stunning in the visuals department. Each of the three “organically shaped” residential towers will be blanketed with white bougainvillea vines and jasmine growing from interwoven mesh screens found on the buildings' wraparound balconies. And so that no one dare mistake the office tower for the trio of white residential towers, the exterior of the former will be bursting with an array of multicolored bougainvillea blooms.
Explain the architects:
The Gardens of Anfa will be the landscaped heart of a new neighborhood in Morocco. A large, dense park conceals a series of four buildings with vegetal façades, creating mimetic games with the surrounding nature.
In the foreground, Washingtonias are planted as if in a dense forest. In the mid-ground, multi-colored flowers cover the topography. In the background, trees and bushes flourish with blue and white blossoms.
The architecture plays itself out in many colors. Towers with organic forms are implanted around the square. The towers with office spaces have façades that are planted with multicolored bougainvilleas. The towers with housing units appear white, planted with jasmine or white bougainvilleas.
Lower buildings surround the park and are set back from the adjacent roads. The façades of these small buildings are vertical gardens. These residential buildings break down the scale of the high-rise towers to give the park an inhabited character. This architecture of individual buildings demarcates the limits of the gardens.
Lovely all around and yet another beautiful work of bee-friendly, biodiversity-exploring sustainable architecture from Edouard François, architect, urban planner, and certified French national treasure who was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012. (Check out this great ArchDaily video interview with François from 2013).
My one concern, in addition to the potential for living in an apartment that constantly smells like someone overdid it with the Bvlgari cologone (but hey, there are worse things), is hinted at in the renderings: After a steady wind comes through, I'm guessing that the grounds around the towers will be completely covered in bougainvillea petal confetti — a gorgeous mess but still a mess nonetheless. Looks they'll need to recruit a full-time petal patrol.
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