Project facts: 

Location: Toulouse,France
Design Architect: Daniel Libeskind
Building height: 150m
Building Type: Mixed-Use
Landscape Architect: Nicolas Gilsoul
MEP & Structural Engineer: ARCADIS
Client: Compagnie de Phalsbourg
Awards: 2018 – MIPIM/The Architecture Review, Future Project Award, Mixed-Use Commended Award

The Polish-American Architect- Daniel Libeskind marks his position as a deconstructivist who designs the story of architecture. He believes that the existence of architecture is a visceral communication and that architecture has to be risky in order to speak about its time. His designs like The Jewish Museum and Ontario Museum-Crystal speak of the historical context in a contemporary way with its distinctive nature for the present and the past. His design philosophy is en route to Toulouse – La Ville Rose (the Pink city) in France, known for its tonality of terracotta bricks. Daniel Libeskind is about to create the first 150-meter high skyscraper- the Occitanie Tower in the heart of Toulouse.     

Occitanie Tower- Toulouse, France by Daniel Libeskind - Sheet1
150m high Occitainie in the heart of Toulouse by Daniel Libeskind_©Morph

The Locale- Toulouse 

Along with the city’s significant richness in history, art, music, and culture, Toulouse is envisaged to be the looming business district. The greens are enveloped with shimmering silver; this tower is anticipated to be the landmark for the city’s economic growth. “Toulouse is poised to assert itself as a new business hub in the region. The Occitanie Tower will create both an iconic landmark for the city as well as create a strategic economic generator for the district,” said Philippe Journo, Founder of Compagnie de Phalsbourg.

Occitanie Tower- Toulouse, France by Daniel Libeskind - Sheet2
Iconic Landmark contributing to upcoming business hub_©Luxigon

However, with being a unique object in the vast urban space, Daniel Libeskind aspires the tower to be a defining public space. Daniel Libeskind’s firm is teaming up with Toulouse Architect Francis Cardete to build the tower on the site of the former postal sorting centre at Gare Matabiau. The site is to the east of the city centre and far away from Garonne River. The Occitanie Tower being 150 meters high, which is about 40 storeys, almost half of The Eiffel Tower, will offer magnificent views of the Pyrenees, which are less than 100 km away.

Occitainie’s Planning and Design

Daniel Libeskind has slightly diverged from his deconstructive sharp-angular statement designs to a rhythmic rolling facade above Canal du Midi. The rhythms of greenscape changing colours with seasons start from the ground level up to the 40th floor twirling around the shimmering silver facade. The interior floors are well bifurcated with a variety of functional mixed-use spaces consuming 30,000 m². The Occitainie tower houses 11,000 m² of office spaces, a 4-star Hilton Hotel, as many as 120 apartments, a restaurant bar extending to a public garden offering panoramic views, 2,000 m² of commercial retail shops at the ground level, and up to 1,500 m² for the railway company SNCF.     

Occitanie Tower- Toulouse, France by Daniel Libeskind - Sheet3
Section showing vertical zoning of functions integrated with vertical gardens_©zupimages.netviewer.phpid=17388zho.jpg

The Libeskind’s Story

While designing the tower, the Pink City was kept at the forefront to bridge the gap between the urban landmark and the vicinity. The twirling character of the facade is in reference to the gliding waterways of the Canal du Midi. The tower narrates about the city when it reflects the terracotta over its glazed facade. Daniel Libeskind has a mystical approach towards transitions and encounters from one space to another. Thus, Libeskind’s Occitanie Tower story creates a play of light and shadow in different functional spaces with just two elements- the facade and the vertical gardens embracing rhythm and grace.

“With its suspended gardens that change colour during the seasons, the slight silvertone of the glazing of the façade will reflect the pink tones of Toulouse, and the brightness of this material will change the perception of the space, according to the variation of light,” said architect Daniel Libeskind. 

Occitanie Tower- Toulouse, France by Daniel Libeskind - Sheet4
The greens are  enveloped with the shimmering silver along the waterways _©www.kardham.com

The Soaring Greenscape

The landscape architect Nicolas Gilsoul plays a prominent role in integrating the built with the unbuilt. The public platforms at each level are visioned to be in harmony with the ecosystem and promote sustainable, interactive environments for the users. The soaring greenscape is also a part of Libeskind’s story representing the lush greenscape along the edges of Canal du Midi. Architect Nicolas Gilsoul is subjected to adorn the public platforms with vibrant colours of flowers and trees. With the changing seasons, when the flowers bloom and the leaves fall, the tower experiences constant change and allows the users to experience different environments.

Occitanie Tower- Toulouse, France by Daniel Libeskind - Sheet5
Elevations highlighting the vertical greenscapes integrated with the built and wrapped by the glazed facade_©zupimages.netviewer.phpid=1738gpt6.jpg

The starchitect Daniel Libeskind has never failed to create a language of his structure. Through Occitanie Tower, he defines the potential of urbanscape by infusing vertical greens with a contemporary frame reflecting memories of Toulouse’s tonality and cityscape. His design philosophy always aspires to the future with his memories of art and music, of materials and proportion, of senses and architecture. In his interview ‘The Voices of a Site,’ he states, “There will be no future without memory. And nostalgia is for someone who does not want to step into the future.” This memory of the future is what makes him innovate impactful architectural pieces like ‘Tour Occitanie Dans la Ville Rose’ – Occitanie Tower in the Pink City.

‘Tour Occitainie Dans la Ville Rose’_©Morph

References: 

Online sources:

  1. Elisabeth Schneyder (2020). Occitanie Tower: highrise premiere in Toulouse, France –. [online]. Available at: https://www.thestylemate.com/occitanie-tower-high-rise-premiere-in-toulouse-france/?lang=en  [Accessed 5 March 2022].
  2. Architizer. Occitanie Tower by Studio Libeskind –. [online]. Available at: https://architizer.com/projects/occitanie-tower/  [Accessed 5 March 2022].
  3. Lizzie Fison (2017). Occitanie Tower: highrise premiere in Toulouse, France – .[online]. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/27/studio-libeskind-150-metre-high-occitanie-garden-tower-toulouse-business-district-architecture/ [Accessed 5 March 2022].
  4. Kardham. Tour Occitanie-Toulouse – .[online]. Available at: https://www.kardham.com/en/References/Tour_Occitanie_-_Toulouse-00053#technique  [Accessed 5 March 2022].

 

Images/visual mediums:

  1. Louisiana Channel. (2018). Daniel Libeskind Interview- The Voices of a Site. [YouTube Video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pWov-9PMNQ&t=100s. [Accessed: 1 March 2022].
Author

Trishla Doshi is a philomath designer and an architect in Mumbai. She aspires to foster cultural resurgence among people through reaching out to them sometimes in the form of words and sometimes design. She is in the constant exploration of the space between herself and her illustrative narratives breathing history.

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