Le Brise-Sable25 October 2017
Belvedere | Theoretical project 2016
« The Tip-Box » was originally designed as a Belvedere project for an architect friend turning thirty. Implanted at the top of Pic-Saint-Loup, the most emblematic mountain of the Montpellier region, it is as much a space for rest and contemplation for hikers as a tribute to the powerful beauty of this area.
A cube in a delicate balance on the verge of tipping over into the void, a minimalist structure, impressive and intriguing: it is the image the project offers in the wide-open space.
This site benefits from a unique panoramic view with a 360 degrees free horizon from the Mediterranean Sea to the Cevennes Mountains. Its mind-blowing verticality is also a praise to the void and an ode to vertigo and that is what The Tip-Box intends to embody.
As a matter of fact, the hiker by reaching the top will stumble upon an abrupt cliff, a surprising and somehow frightening precipice after an ascent through the woods on rather gentle slopes.
The project tries to exalt that feeling of vertigo, to tame it then to enhance it to give the visitor a thrill in complete safety.
Its structure in terraces and a tilted envelope directs the visitor's eyes towards the foot of the cliff and virtually projects them into the void. That lay-out gives him an ambiguous feeling of a motionless fall or imminent take-off.
The East/West side facades are totally blind to ensure a blinker effect whereas the south side and the roof are perforated. That way it allows part of the natural light to seep through while retaining a welcoming shade.
The perforations are also intended to keep a visual though filtered link with Montpellier and the Mediterranean Sea. At last, the lower part of the structure is designed to shelter hikers willing to spend the night at the top.