Hôtel Des Communes In Les Herbiers

CompanyAtelier Du Pont
Lead DesignerAtelier du Pont
PrizeBronze in Architectural Design / Institutional Architecture

The Community of Municipalities of the Pays des Herbiers was created in 1995. It enables eight municipalities in the region of Vendée (France) to share resources and competencies in the fields of economic development, town planning, environment, and standard of living. The new Hôtel des Communes (Community of Municipalities offices) was built as an extension of the Herbiers City Hall, a mid-19th century mension situated in a public park. The Hôtel des Communes represents a sculptural kind of architecture that approaches Land Art. It is a smart and spectacular building that capitalizes on the strengths of its site – the public park, the trees, and the current city hall – to insert itself gently into the landscape. Supple and athletic, it coils around the existing trees, surrounding them to preserve them. It pushes up into the sky and outward into the park, finding its place without upsetting the harmoniousness of the place. It slaloms lightly and gracefully, and its skin uses the path of the sun to its best advantage. Despite its size, it only reveals part of its whole. The visible sides, which are proportionate to the surrounding buildings, blend into the urban landscape, while its curves and texture make the building a singular event in the town. As an installation, it hides from view under the reflection of the surrounding landscape on its skin, as if it were a chameleon.