Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has teamed up with the French practice Laisné Roussel to design Canopia, an 8.6-million-square-foot (800,000-square-meter) masterplan centered around Bordeaux’s Saint Jean railway station. Their expansive proposal comprises a series of timber towers with a mixed-use scheme that includes residential units and offices as well as retail outlets. The program of the project was created in light of a new high-speed train connecting Bordeaux to Paris with the vision of establishing Bordeaux as a leading European city.
The masterplan comprises four vegetated towers that are each densely populated with trees and other plants. These four skyscrapers are intricately connected through a system of extended terraces that allow users to navigate between gardens and towers. The lower levels are programmed for commercial space — with the residential apartments stacking above.
The theme of vegetation is also consistent in materiality of the proposal: The wooden frame of the building is constructed from silver fir or spruce beams and posts. Furthermore, the floors are made from cross-laminated timber, and glulam bars are incorporated into the frame to help stabilize the tower.
“Particular attention has been paid to delivering quality shared spaces, both on the fringes of the site with the terrace gardens, or at the heart of the development with the green oasis,” explains the design team.
The project creates engaging spaces where residents have access to a series of gardens ranging from agricultural allotments and compost areas to water reservoirs and a rooftop playground. Users are not only physically connected to the project by means of walkways, but also socially connected through unique programming.