Pierres Vives Building, France by Zaha Hadid.

This charming structure is by the unification of three key institutions – the archive, the library and the sports department – all housed within a single envelope.

The building is composed of three separate heavy concrete volumes, bisected by glass channels that house the facility’s public areas. Each volume houses one of the departments of the Herault government, while the concrete space that rests above the building’s atrium contains a shared auditorium.

Originally, the structure was to house two further departments, although these were later moved to nearby buildings created on the same site. “The programme grew too big,” says Pauwels. “Although, in all honesty, I think those two buildings are a bit too close for comfort to the main structure.” The additional structures were not designed by Hadid’s studio.

This attention and concern for the immediate surrounding environment is visible throughout the project. The building’s car park has been designed along the same principles as the Pierres Vives itself. The rows of parking bays are set in blocks like the facade, while the role of the glass channels is fulfilled by roads.

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