Their name is a reference to the “follies”, these vast residences built at the request of nobles or bourgeois who flourished in Montpellier under the Ancien Régime. Montpellier has decided to relaunch these “follies of the 21st century”, of a new kind: by calling on renowned architects to disseminate, in various places in the city, buildings which should contribute to the cachet of the city.
These buildings must be 100% financed by private investors, built on small plots belonging to the city, presented when the project was launched in 2012 as “hollow teeth”, bits of land without geographical continuity, and therefore difficult to exploit. by the community. These four new follies, presented in Cannes during the MIPM (International Market for Real Estate Professionals), are part of a program launched eleven years earlier by Michaël Delafosse (PS). He was then assistant town planner to Hélène Mandroux (PS), the mayor at the time.
The one who has since conquered the town hall in 2020, had at the time launched the project of twelve follies. Only two have come out of the ground: the white tree of Sou Fujimoto, located in the Richter district, near Lez and Antigone. And the divine madness of Farshid Moussavi, located at the gates of Port-Marianne, between the Ernest Granier roundabout (known by Montpellier residents as the roundabout with the red and blue flags) and Odysseum. After his election as mayor in 2014, Philippe Saurel (DVG) took care to put an end to this real estate program. A parenthesis that Michaël Delafosse therefore wanted to close.
A fifth project, which was initially to be unveiled, in the new Saint-Roch district, near the station, is the subject of a new call for tenders. It could be presented in the fall, at the same time as eight other architectural follies of the 21st century.
The sentinel (Vernière madness)
On a small surface (276 m2) and a height constraint (18 m maximum), La sentinel will take place at the foot of the Corum, at the bottom of rue du Pila Saint-Gély. It was entrusted to Odile Decq, author of the Frac de Bretagne or the Phatom restaurant at the Opéra Garnier. This building with rounded shapes marrying the curvature of the land, is presented as “a totem, a lookout that challenges and constitutes a strong urban signal”, according to its designer. “The basket blinds are like eyelids for better thermal comfort. The bubbles are the openings that connect the inside and the outside, some are balconies above the void to have fun, to float. »
Alma Terra (Manuguerra madness)
The buildings will face the divine madness, on the other side of the tramway line and the avenue du Mondial 98. It is not a question of one and five buildings on 8,400 m2 of surface, imagined by the Marseillaise Manuelle Gautrand. The architect imagines it as “a life project and not a housing project in order to rediscover a village spirit. Five slender buildings articulated between them by social and vegetated walkways linking the housing to shared living spaces. » With collaborative vegetable gardens, crèche, art school for children, DIY workshop, orange grove. The buildings will have rounded shapes “for delicacy, to avoid vis-à-vis, with terraces protected from the wind, rain, sun”.
The oasis (Ovalie madness)
At the entrance to the Ovalie district, this project comprises two plots: a building of 4,500 m2 of socially mixed housing in R + 13 maximum and a second of 3,000 m2 of offices in R + 5 maximum. The two buildings will be connected to each other. The project will have to include a commercial ground floor, a roof top accessible to the public, and participate in the animation of the district. The two architects, Thomas Coldéfy and Isabelle Van Haute, imagined it with circular shapes and soft lines, in contrast to the cubic shapes of the district that emerged from the ground during the construction of the Yves-du-Manoir complex where the club operates. Montpellier rugby union.
Pebbles (Republic madness)
Known for her buildings with spectacular and iconoclastic shapes, Ellen Van Loon imagined these buildings as a link between Montpellier and the beach, which is a few kilometers further on, on the road to the sea. The pebbles will be placed on a area of 2.610 m2. The buildings, between R+8 and R+12, are planned as a living place. One of the rooftops will, for example, be dedicated to sports for building users. They will also host a hall of 200 to 250 people for live shows.