The Cypriot capital of Nicosia made some serious waves in the architecture world a few years ago, when Zaha Hadid Architects won the competition for the redesign of the city’s main square. Essentially a bridge spanning Nicosia’s Venetian moat, the square will be transformed into a curvaceous, brilliant-white platform that will connect the within-the-walls old city with the contemporary city centre beyond. Standing on the contemporary side of this division is another, recently completed landmark that glows in the strong Mediterranean sun: The White Walls, a mixed-use white-concrete tower designed by French Pritzker award-winning architect, Jean Nouvel, and constructed by Nice Day Developments – a construction company founded in 1996 by businessman and famous art collector Dakis Joannou and his son Christos Joannou.
Situated on 6 Stasinou Avenue, the 16-storey building includes retail spaces at street level, office spaces, individual apartments and a duplex penthouse with a rooftop pool. The north façade features large balconies facing the nearby mountain range, while the building’s two sides are perforated with a pixelated pattern that reminds of pixelated Morse-code messages; some of the openings on these two sides are quite large and contain private gardens with local plants that spill outside, adding to the overall design’s sense of randomness and vitality. The rear of the building faces south, which is the side that suffers most from the scorching summer sunshine; to combat that, the architect has planted lush gardens for each floor that cover up 80 percent of the elevation, thus acting as a natural shield from the sun and creating a connection with nature for the people inside.