Zaha Hadid Architect's new cultural, administrative and sports centre is officially inaugurated today in Montpellier, France. Called pierresvives, the building is Hadid's third project in France, and will be the cornerstone of a new "eco-district" in the city.
It has been conceived as an innovative cultural offer — to meet the needs of the area's significant economic growth and increasing population of over 1,000 inhabitants per month —concentrating three civic institutions in a single location: the public archives, a multimedia library and Hérault Sport.
The building incorporates Hadid's traditional sweeping architectural gestures, in a sprawling volume featuring complementing layers of concrete and green-tinted glass. According to the centre, the main architectural challenge in this case was to accommodate an ever increasing public, whilst ensuring the conservation of valuable historical archives. "Its conception is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive assertions of our will to create dynamic and fluid spaces," says Hadid. "It blends formal geometric complexity with bold structures and an innovative use of materials. Architectural creation involves pushing the boundaries – and I believe that pierresvives is an excellent demonstration of that."
The pierresvives building seeks to embody a contemporary vision of culture and public access, and to contribute to the area's growing reputation as a hub of contemporary architecture. It will be the cornerstone of the new pierresvives eco-district, which will be built over the coming years.