Zaha Hadid Architects has completed a sinuous concrete and glass office building for three government departments in Montpellier, France.
Project: Pierres Vives
Location: Montpellier, France
Date: 2002 / 2012
Client: Departement de l’Herault
Size: 35,000 m2
The 35,000sq m building houses the archive, library and sports divisons of the département de l’Hérault within a single envelope. The various parts of this “cite administrative” combine to form a strong figure on the horizon, visible far into the landscape.
The form of the building is reminiscent of a large tree-trunk, laid horizontal. The archive is located at the solid base of the trunk, followed by the slightly more porous library with the sports department and its well-lit offices on top, where the trunk bifurcates and becomes much lighter.
Source: Helene Binet
Branches project off the main trunk to define the points of access and the entrances into the various institutions. The public entrances are located on the western side, with the main entrance under an enormous cantilevered canopy. Service entrances, for staff and loading, are located on the eastern side.
The front side of the building contains the public functions of each institution, linked by a linear lobby and an exhibition space in the centre. Above this shared ground level the three institutions remain strictly separated. Each has its own set of cores for internal vertical circulation, and the layouts of each part follow their specific functional logic.
Upon arrival at the main entrance, one is directed from the lobby to either the educational spaces of the archives on ground level, or via lifts and escalators to the main public artery on the first level.
Source: Helene Binet
The reading rooms of both archives and library are accessed from here, as well as the main public facilities of auditorium and meeting rooms. This artery is articulated across the facades as a recessed glass strip that cuts into the form of the building like a geological fissure. The shared public functions form a central volume which projects out from the trunk, providing a grand cantilevering canopy for arriving visitors.
Architectural Design: Zaha Hadid
Project Architect: Stephane Hof
Design Phase: Blue Tango
Execution Phase: Chabanne et Partenaires
Structure: Ove Arup & Partners
Services: Ove Arup & Partners (Concept Design) & GEC Ingenierie
Acoustics: Rouch Acoustique Nicolas Albaric
Cost: Gec LR, Ivica Knezovic