Built against the podium that covers the train tracks, the Watt tower is both a hub and an urban connector between two eras and two levels of the city – between old and new. A high-rise, generally an isolated object, rarely encompasses as many stakes in the development of its quarter. More than the simple architectural transformation of the building, this particular project is a strong signal of urban change in the district.
A mineral podium effect is created on the first three levels to anchor the building in the ground. The upper floors are encased in panels of expanded metal to look like they were extracted from the mineral ground. The metallic skin, which shifts reflections as the panels are moved, covers the four façades to create unity on the upper part of the tower. The raised extension of the final stories is made of wood, designed like a succession of cascading green terraces. Apart from the lightness of the wood structure, its relatively simple workmanship makes sense in the pursuit of low carbon buildings which are more environmentally respectful.