zaha hadid: pierres vives in montpellier
aug 04, 2012
zaha hadid: pierres vives in montpellier

‘pierres vives’ by zaha hadid
image © hélène binet

the ‘pierres vives’ building of the department of d’lherault has been designed by zaha hadid. the overall structure is characterized
by the unification of three key institutions – the archive, the library and the sports department – all housed within a single envelope.
from afar, the architecture has a strong presence amidst its surrounding landscape, and as one approaches the site,
the physical divisions of the space become more apparent.

reminiscent of a large tree-trunk lying horizontal across the plain, the main volume is intersected by protruding ‘branches’
which articulate the points of access into the various spaces – at the solid base of the trunk one will find the archives,
then moving along, the more porous library and finally the sports department and offices situated at the top where the trunk
bifurcates and becomes lighter.

the structure is reminiscent of a large tree-trunk lying horizontal
image © hélène binet

from the main road, there is entry to either side of the building for public visitors, staff and service vehicles.
all public entrances are located on the western side, situated beneath a large cantilevering canopy. public access leads to a visitor park
in front of the main entrance, which directs one from the lobby to either educational expanses of the archives
on the ground level;
or via lifts and escalators to the main public
artery situated on the first level. this area is highlighted along the facades by a
recessed glass strip
where reading rooms for both the archives and the library are
immediately accessible.
central in this artery at the heart of the
building are the main public spaces shared by the three foundations:
auditorium and meeting rooms. these shared public zones form the central
volume which extends outwards from the main trunk,
provide a
cantilevering canopy for arriving visitors. service areas (i.e. staff entrances, loading bays) stretch along
the eastern side of the unit, articulating the complexity of the design.

the logitudinal division of serviced and servicing points are all maintained within the ground floor and run the length of the structure.
the public purpose of each section, links to the lobby and exhibition space in the centre of the property. above this connected ground level,
the three institutions remain separate, each one holding its own set of cores for internal vertical circulation with individual layouts
which cater to their specific functions.

recessed glass strips run along the length of the building
image © hélène binet

image © hélène binet

interior view of the open public spaces
image © hélène binet

image © hélène binet

image © hélène binet

image © hélène binet

image © hélène binet

storage spaces
image © hélène binet

project info:

architectural design: zaha hadid
project architect: stephanie hof
project team: joris pauwels, philipp vogt, rafael portillo, jaime serra, renata dantas, melissa fukumoto, jens borstelman,
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
local architect: design phase – blue tango; execution phase – chabanne et partenaires
structure: ove arup & partners
services: ove arup & partners (concept design) & GEC ingenierie
acoustics: rouch acoustique, nicholas albaric
cost: GEC LR, ivica knezovic
client: departement de l’herault
location: montpellier, france
under construction
size: 35,000 m2

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