As architects all over the world begin to embrace wood as a primary material for all sorts of projects, we’re seeing some incredible visions of large-scale timber structures that bring warmth, character and sustainability to urban areas that might otherwise feel cold and impersonal. Entering the field as a proposal for Europe’s largest wooden construction of all time, ‘Ecotone’ is a multi-use space aiming to link the city of Arcueil, France with the surrounding landscape.
The design takes its cues from the topography of the landscape itself, rendering its overall shape into an artificial vegetated hillside that blends right in with the trees surrounding it. Collaboratively designed by Triptyque, Duncan Lewis, PARC Architects and OXO Architects, Ecotone aims to serve as an example for just how creative the use of timber in construction can get.
“The ECOTONE project aims to make this privileged site the link between the city and nature and to build a building that is the interface between these two environments,” says Duncan Lewis Architects. “In biology, this transition zone between two ecosystems is called an ecotone. In answer to the future of our sustainable city, ECOTONE will be the largest wooden construction in Europe. At the time of the global ecological crisis, ECOTONE aims to be an emblem, a strong signal of the commitment of Paris and its metropolis.”
“Architecture is inspired by nature, nature knows better than humans how to design its habitat by ensuring structural, thermal and exceptional uses.”
While the architects don’t go into detail about how they plan to use timber for the project, the renderings reveal an array of wooden surfaces throughout. It will include walls that open and close in response to weather conditions, a breathable thin roof membrane and wells that help regulate the temperature. It will combine offices, hotel, restaurants, shops, sports hall and housing for 5,000 in a prime location close to transportation and amenities.