This project, located on the heights overlooking Nice, lies in the middle of a broad dale descending to the sea. A lovely urban boulevard runs straight down, with one side densely urbanized and the other one with a chic and historic neighborhood of grand villas. On this latter side, nature is everywhere. On the horizon, mountains and luxuriant hills surround the valley. The landscape is typically luxuriant Mediterranean, with trees here and there reaching heights over 50 meters. This sun-drenched nature is watered by underground rivers.
A Manhattan-style ground plan
Broad views from the interior of the new city superblock open onto the surrounding landscape. The project echoes the urban quality of Manhattan in that it ensures a view of the horizon at the end of each block. Despite the apparent density, when looking at the cross-section of the project, the heart of the development areas is available to the inhabitants for open-air experiences in a wonderfully calm and peaceful atmosphere. They are in a garden with highly sought-after views of the hills of Nice.
A unique landscape for the park and the new neighborhood
The distant landscape joins the project park and penetrates straight into the superblock. The intimate landscaping inside the superblock joins the park, bringing additional color to it. A highly botanically varied landscape is thriving here, in the tradition of Mediterranean gardens. We refer to it as the “garden extraordinaire”. It begins in the center of the superblock and extends to the park-like rivers of color. We are at the intersection of merging landscapes, one nearby and the other in the distance.
The façades are not “greened” but rather “support greenery.” Behind the foliage another façade is on the background, the closed and covered façade. Standing in a highly seismic zone, these planters can only be made of concrete. They are left raw. We added a superstructure to the façades: chestnut supports, with stainless steel cables strung between them forming a sort of structure for climbing plants, some coming up from the planted beds at the base of the façades, others higher up in the planters. The whole arrangement is watered by visible pipes on the façades. The same organization is employed for capturing excess water from the process.
The exposed water pipes express in their design a yearning for the world of plants. To complete our thinking about plantings, we grafted plants from mother plants on the ground into the planters located higher up. Through all these grafted plants we botanically reduced the number of plants to one. In less than three years, the grafted plants will have taken hold and we will be able to shut off all or part of the automated watering system. When that day arrives, we will speak about the “internet of plants” all communicating among themselves, sharing their resources of water and sunlight in a relation of anastomosis, the scientific name for connections between plants.