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ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France

Pierres Vives

Montpellier - France

A “tree of knowledge”, a circuit board, or rather a futuristic spaceship? Over the years, the Pierres Vives building in Montpellier, France has been compared to lots of different shapes. One thing is for certain: this unique creation by renowned architect Zaha Hadid is as spectacular as it is functional. Its sloping, bespoke façade solution by Reynaers Aluminium inspires both employees and visitors of the multipurpose site.

Zaha Hadid Architects designed the Pierres Vives (or “Living Stones”) complex as a 200-metre-long fallen tree, with its branches forming the building’s main entrances. It hosts the offices of the Hérault department’s sport association, as well as underground archives and a state-of-the-art media library. The sloping façades of this “centre of knowledge” will mesmerise you as you try to figure out its intricate 3D puzzle of concrete and glass.

  • ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France
  • ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France
  • ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France
  • ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France
  • ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France

And what a puzzle it is: the extraordinary façades consist of over one thousand large precast concrete modules, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Project architect Stephane Hof explains the complexity of the project: “Due to the façade’s intricate pattern, we needed a specific solution to actually form the link between the curved concrete and the glass. Luckily, Reynaers Aluminium could provide us with a custom-made curtain wall solution.”

We needed a specific solution to fit the curved concrete with the glass. Luckily, Reynaers Aluminium delivered.

Stephane Hof
ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France

Curved glass surfaces add to the intriguing appearance of Pierres Vives’ façades.

Re-imagining an all-time favourite

We did the maths so you do not have to. 14,000 square metres of aluminium solutions cover the enveloping façade, flowing across three storeys. Some placed vertically, others at an angle of nearly 36 degrees. To tackle this challenge, we created a project-specific solution based on our popular ConceptWall 50 system. Our Project Team re-designed the highly adaptable curtain wall with a hidden fastening system for the glazing, meaning the “ConceptWall 70” can be installed on steep slopes, as featured in Pierres Vives’ design.

ConceptWall 50 Façades - Office building Pierres Vives located in Montpellier, France

Next, the various curves in the façade would be quite difficult to clad with regular frames. Or so the designers thought. Architect Hof elaborates: “We were surprised that with Reynaers Aluminium’s bespoke solution we could use standard profiles to fix this problem. Bending the profiles vertically was relatively easy, but some curves on the sloping façade had to be made by hand. In the end, the puzzle did fit and we are happy with the result.”

We had to bend some curves by hand to match the sloping façade. But in the end, the puzzle did fit.

Stephane Hof

Certainly, this tree of knowledge has not shared all of its wisdom yet. So whenever you are in Southern France, be sure to visit the Pierres Vives centre in Montpellier. Stare at its intricate glass and concrete façade, provided by Reynaers Aluminium, and get inspired all over again.

Used systems

Involved stakeholders

Fabricator

  • TOSONI LINO S.P.A.

Photographer

  • Hélène Binet

Other stakeholder

  • Department de l'Herault (General contractor)