Pierres Vives / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Helene Binet

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: , France
Project Architect: Stephane Hof
Design Local Architect: Blue Tango
Execution Local Architect: Chabanne et Partenaires
Project Area: 35,000 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Helene Binet

section 01

Project Team: Joris Pauwels, Philipp Vogt, Rafael Portillo, Jaime Serra, Renata Dantas, Melissa Fukumoto, Jens Borstelman, Thomas Vietzke, Patrik Schumacher, Kane Yanegawa, Loreto Flores, Edgar Payan, Lisamarie Villegas Ambia, Karouko Ogawa, Stella Nikolakaki, Hon Kong Chee, Caroline Andersen, Judith Reitz, Olivier Ottevaere, Achim Gergen, Daniel Baerlecken, Yosuke Hayano, Martin Henn, Rafael Schmidt, Daniel Gospodinov, Kia Larsdotter, Jasmina Malanovic, Ahmad Sukkar, Ghita Skalli, Elena Perez, Andrea B. Caste, Lisa Cholmondeley, Douglas Chew, Larissa Henke, Steven Hatzellis, Jesse Chima, Adriano De Gioannis, Simon Kim, Stephane Carnuccini, Samer Chamoun, Ram Ahronov, Ross Langdon, Ivan Valdez, Yacira Blanco, Marta Rodriguez, Leonardo Garcia, Sevil Yazici, Hussam Chakouf, Marie-Perrine Placais, Monica Noguero, Naomi Fritz, Stephanie Chaltiel
Structural Engineering: Ove Arup & Partners
Services: Ove Arup & Partners (Concept Design) & GEC Ingenierie
Acoustics: Rouch Acoustique, Nicolas Albaric
Cost: Gec LR, Ivica Knezovic
Client: Departement de l’Herault

© Helene Binet

The pierresvives building for the department de l’Herault is the unification of three institutions – the archive, the library and the sports department – within a single envelope. These various parts combine to create a building with a strong single identity when viewed at a distance, but as one moves closer, the division into three parts becomes apparent. The building has been developed using functional and economic logic: the resultant design reminiscent of a large tree-trunk that has been laid horizontally. 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 far end where the trunk bifurcates and becomes much lighter. ‘Branches’ project vertically off the main trunk to articulate points of access to the various institutions.

© Helene Binet

This longitudinal division of serviced and servicing spaces is maintained along the full length of pierresvives. The front of the building contains all the public functions of each institution, linked by a linear lobby with an exhibition space in the centre. Above this connective ground level, the three institutions remain strictly separated, each with its own core for internal vertical circulation.

© Helene Binet

On arrival at the main entrance, visitors are directed from the lobby to the educational spaces of the archives on ground level; or via lifts and escalator to the main public artery on level one. This artery is articulated all along the facades as a recessed glass strip, with the reading rooms of the archive and library are immediately accessible. Central in this artery and therefore located at the heart of the building, are the main public facilities shared between the three institutions: the auditorium and meeting rooms. These important public spaces form the primary central volume of the grand cantilevering canopy above the entrance.

Ground floor plan

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Pierres Vives / Zaha Hadid Architects" 14 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=273554>
  • topgunarchitect


  • mvb

    I am happy to see this project finished after so many years. Looking at the pictures I think it is a good achievement, carefully designed and built. I guess, one of the most complex issues was to solve the section and how the program is organized inside. Congrats for this masterpiece!

  • dUFFY

    I cant help but hate the 3 dimensional self referential objects that Zaha’s office creates. I think this is a fantastic case of;
    “contemporary design that is preoccupied with form and program and not with the humane relationship to it.”
    I do however understand they are pushing, what can be achieved in terms of form and materials, but I just can’t see it being ‘good used space’. It is ultimately a masterpiece, just not a masterpiece I could come to work to everyday. But then again, I’ve never been to the building.

  • http://trahanarchitects.com Mark Hash

    1 interior photograph and 16 exterior photographs?

  • james

    they took the shape of ‘beveled parallelogram’ as a motif and applied it everywhere. the architecture is really repellent.

  • luka

    Looks like “she” also ran out of ideas…


    love it

  • taha

    zaha hadid



  • yahya kaddoura

    i would like to do for the clinet a feasible study that shows them that the money they spent for constructing such a building design would be mostly equal in cost to 3 similar buildings with an normal design..

  • Ziad Baz


  • soheil

    is it in folding style ? or …?