BIG PICTURE

'White Tree' house

Residents have started moving into a Mediterranean development that aims to make a difference to high-rise living.

Looking like a pine cone and featuring the world's longest unsupported balconies, L'Arbre Blanc, or the White Tree, is located in the southern French city of Montpellier. It is an attempt by Mr Sou Fujimoto, a Japanese architect known for playful designs, to change attitudes towards urban housing.

The building, which is to be formally opened this month, is the latest in the race for novel architecture among Nice, Marseilles and other French Mediterranean cities. The country is busy demolishing hundreds of unwanted urban council towers that have been replaced by low-rise housing.

Mr Fujimoto, 47, worked with a team of young French architects to produce the 17-storey, 120-unit apartment tower.

Inspired by the city's tradition of outdoor living, the mixed-use tower has housing, a restaurant, an art gallery, a panoramic bar and office spaces.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline ''White Tree' house'. Print Edition | Subscribe