The French architecture firm Atelier Fernandez & Serres has been shortlisted for the AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture 2013 for their recently completed International Accommodation Center for the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer. The structure is a beach-front science facility that is a part of the Paris-based Universite Pierre et Marie Curie.
The structure is six stories of coral latticed façade that radiates a rich, pink glow. The firm’s design was inspired by anemone tentacles moving below the surface of the ocean. The building's spiny phalanges are made of concrete and are arranged in irregular patterns to create the appearance of movement. The strands of concrete were cast on site and then positioned into modules according to a specially-designed mathematical algorithm. The spines appear to be vibrating and create gaps in the outer shell of the building that allow air and light to penetrate inside.
The building can accommodate 74 short-term residents, usually traveling students and researchers. Bedrooms are located on the top four floors, while the first two host common living areas and lounge spaces. This includes a canteen with a long strip window, which is the coral lattice’s only interruption.