A Naturalist Manifesto

John Hill
4. May 2022
Photo: Michael Denancé (All images courtesy of v2com)

Villa M is a new mixed-use building covered in plants and trees in Paris's Montparnasse area that its creators — Triptych Architecture and Philippe Starck — describe as "a naturalist architectural manifesto."

More accurately, Olivier Raffaëlli and Guillaume Sibaud of French-Brazilian Triptyque Architecture explain: "We designed Villa M as a naturalist architectural manifesto: that is, a building of a new era, where man is no longer opposed to nature and the living." It's not hard to see how the plant-covered building, which houses a hotel, co-working space, and a health center, is an expression of this point of view. Raffaëlli continues: "The edifice itself is the support for this vertical garden, which will grow and occupy the entire facade, turning the building into a vertical, medicinal forest, and becoming the main architecture." Below is a visual tour through the facade of Villa M's "naturalist manifesto."
 

Villa M is located at 24-30 Boulevard Pasteur in Paris's 15th arrondissement, just steps from the Pasteur stop on the Métro. (Photo: Michael Denancé)
Seen from certain angles, the thick vegetation on the facade of Villa M recalls Patrick Blanc's earlier living wall at Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, which is just 3km northwest of the hotel. (Photo: Michael Denancé)
The landscape design was handled by Pablo Giorgef of Coloco. (Photo: Michael Denancé)
The steel-and-concrete frame of the eight-story building is expressed on the facade through what the architects call "metallic structure beams" that were "conceived to house medicinal herbal plants, fruit trees, and medium to large sized perennial species." (Photo: Michael Denancé)
The building's rooftop is the setting for RoofTop, a "suspended oasis" of fruit trees and plants, complete with a view of the Eiffel Tower. (Photo: Press distribution)
Philippe Starck served as architectural designer and artistic director of the Villa M spaces, which have views of the Parisian cityscape through the green facade. (Photo: Michael Denancé)
Project: Villa M (2021)
Location: 24-30 Boulevard Pasteur, Paris
Client: Groupe Pasteur Mutualité (Thierry Lorente, General Director of Groupe Pasteur Mutualité e Amanda Lehmann, deputy general director of Groupe Pasteur Mutualité)
Architectural Design of Villa M:  Olivier Raffaëlli & Guillaume Sibaud - Triptyque Architecture
Architectural Design and Art Director of Villa M Spaces: Philippe Starck
Assistant to the Contracting Authority: SCPM Access, Guy Sanoian
Landscaping: Coloco, Pablo Giorgef
Building Company: Eiffage Construction
Total Area: 8,000 m²
 
Building Section (Drawing: Triptych Architecture)
Wall Section (Drawing: Triptych Architecture)

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