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The Sprouting Building by cyu14
September 2, 2008, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Material/Building Systems, precedents, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

The use of gabions as a cladding system can be found in Edouard Francois‘ L’Immeuble qui Pousse, or The Sprouting Building, an apartment complex located in Montpellier, France. The use of gabions as a primary cladding stems from Francois’ intention to explore an economical use of materials and nature, while juxtaposing the typical assumptions on where life will thrive. The large sheer, imposing rock face has been seeded and in time the entire wall will sprout, transforming the exterior of the building into a budding garden wall.


An excerpt from Architectural Review explains the gabion construction process: “Panels were assembled in several stages. The steel cages were set within steel formwork and studded with a double layer of frost-resistant pebbles. A layer of sand followed, then seeds of rock plants contained in grow bags. The ends of the cages are set within a layer of concrete that forms the inner face of the panel. On removing the formwork, the sand was gently shaken out, leaving the soil and seeds. Cast-in lifting hooks enable the panels to be easily lifted into position and fixed onto the structural frame. A watering system between the joints of the panels will nurture the emerging plants. The stone cages have a curiously sensual, primeval quality, like the ancient dry stonewalls in fields. It will be fascinating to witness their slow metamorphosis into a modern hanging garden.” (The Architectural Review, May, 2000. Rock Garden – apartment complex in Montpellier, France.)

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