Evolving a green high-rise

It must be something in the air – last week, we brought you Richard Black’s Symbiotic Building concept, which essentially seeks to combine the modern office environment with a greenhouse.

Today, we bring you a high-rise in France’s Boulogne-Billancourt re-imagined as an urban eco-village, bursting with greenery.

The Natural Evolution building proposal (which comes to us via eVolo) was developed in response for the increasing need for high-density housing in urban areas. 

In accordance with that vision, it was developed for Boulogne-Billancourt, the most populous suburb of Paris and one of the most densely populated municipalities in all of Europe.

The idea here is to reconcile the concepts of high-density housing and quality of life through a return to the fundamental concept of human habitation: the village.


Several layers assembled along the vertical axis form the building’s basic structure; these layers are connected via a vertical “street.” Living areas with high ceilings feel more like houses than apartments, and plenty of glass lets in an abundance of natural light while creating a sense of connection to the outdoors. 

But perhaps the most notable aspect of the design is its use of gardens; through a true extension of the building’s substrates, spaces are created for natural soil to be loaded in to depths of at least 3 meters (9 feet). 

Beyond your average landscaping and vegetable gardens, these planted areas allow for actual trees planted in the building itself. These trees act as a sunscreen, as well as a protection against wind, noise, and pollution.

In keeping with the village concept, Natural Evolution is organized around a series of common areas that are meeting places, places of exchange. These common areas are incorporated into the planted squares of the building and incorporate play areas for children.

Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling