Green: an indispensable architectural complement

Antonella Mazzola

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2 SET 2017
A shining example of the use of green for tall buildings, The White Walls modernizes the skyline of the Cypriot capital, opening unexpected perspectives into man’s desire to interact with nature

The White Walls rises up 67 meters high, contrasting with the horizontal character of the medieval walls and moat that surround the old part of Nicosia. The building consists of 10 residential floors, 6 office floors and 2 for commercial spaces. The tower, designed by Jean Nouvel, features a mix of materials and uses, combining Mediterranean character with a building structure that boasts significant performance, focusing on the principles of environmental sustainability and renewable natural resources. In the treatment of the facades, which are all white and dotted with small openings distributed in a seemingly random manner, lies the main contribution in terms of energy. Vegetable elements enter these repeated empty spaces and cool the building, especially in summer conditions when heat loads are high, resulting in functional, yet aesthetic organic devices on the four ‘living’ facades. 80% of the south façade is covered by a vertical curtain that, acting as a natural brise soleil, extends right up to the top of the building, incorporating and ‘sustaining’ a wide variety of Cypriot climbing plants, which change color with the passing of the seasons. 400-year-old olive trees create an extension for this vertical landscape along the perimeter of the building, forming a link with the adjacent city park. The apartments and offices are equipped with loggias; the inner surface expands outwards to maximise living space and to gain full advantage of Nicosia’s temperate climate. Especially on the north-facing side, the loggias, a series of cascading terraces and balconies, are designed to offer an expansive view of the city and surrounding landscape. On the east and west side, the imposing appearance of the white facades is softened by a pixelated composition perforated with a series of random 40 cm x 40 cm openings, making the tower iconic, especially at night, when it is illuminated from within.

 

Developer: Nice Day Developments
Architectural Design: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Advisor to Jean Nouvel: Emmanuel Blamont
Local Collaborating Architects: Takis Sophocleous Architects
Photo credits: Yiorgis Yerolymbos, courtesy of Nice Day Developments

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