Community of Municipalities’ offices in Les Herbiers / Atelier du Pont

Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura

The Community of Municipalities of the Pays des Herbiers was created in 1995. It enables eight municipalities in the region of Vendée to share resources and competencies in the fields of economic development, town planning, environment, and standard of living. Like the rest of the Vendée, the Pays des Herbiers is a rural area with a strong sense of identity. It is also economically very robust and home to numerous companies active at the national level.

Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura

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 contemporary architecture of the new building provides its citizens with a custom, high-performing tool that reconciles landscape, architectural heritage, and modernity. It is an expression of the region’s territorial influence and of the high level local cooperation.

Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura

Landscape Sculpture

A Building that approaches Land Art

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.

Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura
Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura

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.

Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura
Working among the trees

The intelligence of the building’s form resides in the way it increases the size of the façade and thus the workspaces while reducing the technical areas to their necessary minimum. Offices in the Hôtel des Communes are grouped into compact, effective clusters to create greater work synergies. The ground floor hosts the offices that provide public services (civil registrar, marriage hall, etc.).

Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura
Community of municipalities' offices in les herbiers / atelier du pont
© Takuji Shimmura

The spaces on the upper floors were designed to be effective and flexible, on the basis of the principle of modular offices. The curving and counter-curving circulations connect one space to another. They allow people to walk through the building or enter the existing town hall fluidly, with a sense of continuity, all the while remaining immersed in the surrounding park’s greenery.

Project Details:

Location: Les Herbiers, France
Area: 2,880 sqm
Architects: Atelier du Pont
Project manager: Julie-Laure Anthonioz – Interior Designer: Aline Defert
Project team: Quentin Perchet, Hélène Laurin
Associate architect: Michel Joyau
Photographs: Takuji Shimmura

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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