Vincent Callebaut Architectures (VCA) brings a taste of the outdoors into the workplace with its proposal for a new headquarters for French company Soprema. Named Semaphore, it will boast sustainable technology, including solar power and greywater recycling, and have a massive amount of greenery, with around 10,000 plants, shrubs and trees.

Semaphore is envisioned as a showcase for Soprema's range of products, which includes waterproofing, solar panels and insulation, so these would naturally be used wherever possible. The overall form of the building is inspired by a terraced rice field.

In what must be a first for our office coverage, a real skeleton of a woolly mammoth, which was procured at auction by Soprema (the mammoth is the firm's logo) will be on display. Another focal point is a large plaza with fitness, dining, and babysitting facilities for staff.

Though it will have meeting rooms and offices, the interior is meant to be flexible and will encourage workers to find a spot wherever they choose, laptop in hand. It certainly looks like a pleasant place to work, with lots of greenery inside and generous glazing ensuring that natural light permeates within.

This wouldn't be a Vincent Callebaut-designed project without a bucketload of sustainable design and such is indeed the case with Semaphore. Besides all the greenery, VCA calls for large roof-based solar panel arrays that produce electricity and hot water, 20 wind turbines, a biomass generator that produces heat, and some kind of geothermal heating system.

Additionally, passive ventilation, rainwater collection and greywater recycling would be used, as well as sustainably-sourced timber.

The landscaping of the project is significant too and consists of bicycle paths, walkways and fields, plus a marina. Greenhouses will be installed to produce fruit and vegetables, while the grounds will host apple and pear trees.

Semaphore was produced as part of an international architecture competition and it's not clear whether or not the design will be going ahead, but we've reached out to the firm for confirmation. Its much-anticipated Agora Garden Tower is also nearing completion too and we expect to hear more about that soon.

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