Cyprus Mail

Building blooms in spring

By Annette Chrysostomou

The iconic tower designed by Jean Nouvel in the centre of Nicosia, overlooking Zaha Hadid’s Eleftheria Square, is in full bloom now that spring is here.

“Plants are bursting through its walls,” wrote Dezeen architecture, interiors and design magazine last month.

Completed last year, the 67-metre-high tower is one of the tallest structures in the Cypriot capital and a landmark of the city centre. Six of its 19 floors are offices, the rest are apartments.

“To suit Cyprus’ Mediterranean climate, Ateliers Jean Nouvel designed the building around what it describes as a ‘natural brise soleil’ – a facade where numerous openings are infilled with plants,” the magazine said.

feature annette - The tower overlooking Elefetheria Square with its north facade kept clear of plants

The tower called ‘Tower 25’ or ‘White walls’ was also featured in the March edition of the prestigious digital architectural publication Designboom and in Architect, the journal of the American Institute of Architects.

On the south-facing facade, which receives the most sunlight, a series of balconies that span the width of the building have been covered with a vertical vegetated landscape. According to Nice Day, the developers of the building, the plants act as a natural sun-control, shielding apartments and offices in summer while admitting maximum light during winter months. The living façade supports a variety of local plants and continually changes throughout the seasons.

The white walls on the east and west have square openings – creating a lacy effect – some of which are also filled with plants. By contrast, the north facade is kept simple with a series of curved balconies, but no plants.

Most of the office space and apartments, including the penthouse, were sold before construction commenced. The penthouse is on two floors and has its own swimming pool.

feature annette - The penthouse with swimming pool

The six office floors are now rented by financial adviser company Ernst & Young who use them as their headquarters. While the office space is rented, most of the apartments have been privately bought. Only two remain for sale.

Architect Jean Nouvel was awarded the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honour, in 2008, for his work on more than 200 projects, among them, in the words of The New York Times, the “exotically louvered” Arab World Institute, the bullet-shaped and “candy-coloured” Torre Agbar in Barcelona, andParis’ “defiant, mysterious and wildly eccentric” Musée du quai Branly (2006) and the Philharmonie de Paris (2015)

Another much taller tower by Nouvel is currently in the headlines as well.

His super tall tower 53W53 has finally peeked above street level in New York after being in development for nearly a decade. When it is complete in 2017 the tower will have 82 floors and stand at 320 metres. Though it will dwarf the Cyprus tower, it will be merely about the seventh tallest building in New York City.

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