IN CONSTRUCTION TERMS, a canopy is a protruding roof, while in ecology it means the top of the trees in a forest and the life that inhabits it. Exactly which meaning Sou Fujimoto is going for in his 50 metre high competition entry Canopia is debatable. Possibly both. After all, the building features a large number of protruding roofs, with rooftops and balconies dominated by trees and orchards.
The concept has been entered into an architectural competition to design a new district in the French city of Bordeaux: Euratlantique. Fujimoto’s tree-filled utopia combines over 4,000 square metres of office and retail space with almost 200 apartments. Residents move between the different blocks on bridges high above the ground. The plan for the load-bearing structure is to use wooden beams to form a complex carcass reminiscent of an old-fashioned timber-framed house. In this case though, the gaps will be filled with huge areas of glazing and crosslam rather than bricks and render.«