Making Apartment Balconies That Stand Out

After Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto chose the point at Hong Kong recently, he started his talk with a picture of the lush greenery of the native Hokkaido. At that point he explained that nature is his source of inspiration, his eyes seemed to gleam while he talked about his past.

That finally worked his way to his interior design style. Lots of Fujimoto’s jobs have sought to weave characters to the built environment, such as one home in Tokyo with drastically clear walls and yet another with an indoor garden.

For much of his career, however, Fujimoto’s thoughts were confined to real life work, such as his 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion at London’s Hyde Park, which utilized a grid of stainless steel sticks to frame views of the surrounding greenery.

Now, he’s been able to scale up his ambition. The building that is located on L’Arbre Blanc, a 17-story, 120-unit apartment tower at the southern French town of Montpellier.

Each apartment in L’Arbre Blanc opens onto an incredibly deep cantilevered balcony, which provides the building the appearance of a giant pinecone — even though Fujimoto prefers to compare it into a tree, something that’s reflected from the building’s title, which meant “The White Tree” in French.

Fujimoto isn’t alone in his concentrate on balconies. All around the world, architects and interior stylists have taken a fresh interest from the outside spaces as a means to extend living spaces, infuse buildings together with greenery and enliven otherwise regular-looking structures.

From a distance, the surface of Jeanne Gang’s Aqua Tower in Chicago seems to undulate like a wave, a visual hint brought on by irregularly shaped balconies — a few of that protrude up to 3.7 meters out of the building’s surface. Ma Yansong’s sinuous Complete Towers, which grow from the horizontal suburban landscape of Mississauga, Canada, utilize balconies with beach style furniture common in the coastal area that wrap across the entirety of every floor to emphasize the buildings’ curves.

Balconies have been an integral part of building layout. An architect has expressed that the history of the world would have been very different if balconies did not exist. World leaders announce their proclamations while being perched on balconies. Romeo looked up to the balcony where Juliet stood while expressing her love for him. In everyday life, balconies act as an outdoor area to air laundry, grow plants and relax for millions of apartment residents around the world. Balconies also give their residents the ability to enjoy the outdoors, while being indoors.

Recent improvements in engineering and technology have enabled architects to carry balconies to greater lengths — or depths, as the case might be. In 2015, Italian architect Stefano Boeri finished work on the Bosco Verticale, a set of flat towers in Milan. Each 3.3-meter-deep balcony includes inbuilt planters fed with a building-wide irrigation system. Over the whole construction, these planters home 13,000 trees and shrubs out of 900 distinct species, positioned to flourish from the buildings’ different microclimates: lush and cool in the north facade, hot and bright on the southwest.

The residents have expressed their fascination for the building; claiming that the greeneries have grown so much over the course of only three years, and they could see the plants changing as the seasons go.

In the last several decades, Boeri has made numerous comparable towers round Europe, utilizing the largest cranes to help with the construction. One of his newer projects at Nanjing in eastern China has two towers whose balconies will probably be full of shrubs and trees.

In Singapore, design company WOHA has gone even farther with buildings that include large open-air sky decks. Fujimoto stated that as the number of buildings in cities rises, land area is becoming a scarce resource as more people are fighting over land to accommodate their various intentions. The solution, he said, is to make more floor levels inside a building.

Fujimoto has suggested something like his Mille Arbres job, a construction studded with gardens which can bridge a Paris motorway. There’ll likewise be single-family homes on the rooftop — Conveniently nestled right to a park high above the city streets. With a dream of achieving a smooth architectural transition between the outdoors and the indoors, Fujimoto aims to one day use his skills to create a space without walls.

Balconies are more universal than gigantic roof decks, and that is why Fujimoto created them the highlight of their layout when designing L’Arbre Blanc. He stated that the in the Mediterranean climate which the south of France is located in, men and women are able to have lunch on their balconies even during the wintertime. He wanted to create balconies that have the ability to adapt to said lifestyle even in a 50-meter high-rise building.

Fujimoto made the balconies to develop increasingly larger towards the surface of the construction, reaching around eight meters deep and six meters wide — the size of a normal Hong Kong apartment. In duplex apartments, you will find staircases between the balconies with outdoor furniture on each of the balconies. Fujimoto sees them as outdoor living spaces that are vertically aligned.

Designing such big balconies was catchy, but Fujimoto’s team attained it by constructing them out of wooden decking and encouraging them underpinnings under and suspended wires above. These modular balconies are constructed on the ground and then attached to the walls of the building using the help of cranes. Work has just started on installing the balconies and is anticipated to be finished by October.

Fujimoto says he’s excited about seeing how folks customize their balconies once they proceed. They will undoubtedly install plants and furniture, but Fujimoto hopes to see a great deal more. Just like a forest, the construction will evolve with every modification by its own inhabitants.

It was hoped that this building would resemble a life form as time goes on; the designer wanted people who pass by the building to observe the lives of people enjoying the gorgeous weather in stacks, instead of marveling at the architecture.