In the age of contemporary architecture styles conquering the world with unique and individualistic approaches, Dominique Perrault, an eminent French architect, trod an exclusive path that earned him global recognition and honour that was bestowed by several prestigious awards. He received the French silver medal for Town Planning in 1990, the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 1997, gold medal by the French Academy of Architecture in 2010 for all his work and was named the Praemium Imperiale Laureate for Architecture in 2015, to list a few.
Dominique Perrault Architecture (DPA), founded in 1981 and based in Paris, runs prosperously with about 30 years of sincere contribution to the profession and with the creation of exemplary work across disciplines and typologies.
Listed below are some of Dominique Perrault Architecture’s most noted projects:
1. National Library of France, Paris, France
In 1989, winning an international competition to design the new national library for France proved to be a major turning point in Dominique Perrault’s professional career. Post completion in 1995, the library complex that sat on the banks of the river Seine, gained global recognition for its clever fusion of volumes and voids that is part-temple and part-supermarket.
The complex consisted of four monumental library towers on the peripheral corners that resemble open books facing one another, connected by an elevated public square. Built with a complex double façade, the towers were intended to refract a prismatic display of light and shimmer like four lighthouse beacons.
Another important feature of the project is the central sunken tranquil garden, a symbolic space that was intended to be the origin of the library, bringing calmness and light to the interiors.
2. Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea
One of the key concepts practised by Dominique Perrault Architecture is the idea of architecture blending into the landscape and topography. Reproducing their characteristic ideologies, the Ewha Womans University was designed as a multi-functional valley cut into the ground by a gentle slope on one side and a massive stairway that may be used as an open-air theatre on the other side.
The campus valley, enclosed by classrooms, libraries, auditoriums and shops, is topped by a long and continuous strip of altered terrain covered by nature. This strip serves as a platform for sports activities, festivals and celebrations; a means to unite the university and the city.
3. Olympic Tennis Centre, Madrid, Spain
The tennis stadium, designed by Dominique Perrault in the prospect of Spain being a candidate for hosting the Olympic games for 2016, is equipped with distinct facilities unmatched by any other tennis centres in the world. Articulated by an artificial reflective lake, the various spaces of the complex are interconnected by footbridges and pontoons that offer views of the surrounding landscape.
The main stadium, nicknamed the “magic box”, consists of three indoor/outdoor courts that are covered by three massive mobile aluminium-clad slabs mounted on hydraulic jacks, enabling them to be positioned in 27 different combinations (vertically, horizontally or angled). This system allows all three tennis courts to be utilised simultaneously under any weather conditions.
4. Fukoku Tower, Osaka-Shi, Japan
Designed for Japan’s insurance company, Fukoku, the form for this mixed-use tower was inspired by the profile of a tree and its proliferated roots on the ground. The structure transitions into a contrasting form vertically, starting from a splayed base mimicking the texture of a rough tree bark that tapers gradually into a rigid and sleek glass wall reflecting the colours of the sky.
5. Velodrome and Olympic Swimming Pool, Berlin, Germany
Another marvellous example of Dominique Perrault Architecture’s acclaimed works that was designed with the concepts of reticence and concealment. The circular Velodrome and the rectangular swimming pool complexes appear to be almost buried underground amidst a vast orchard of apple trees.
These semi-buried arenas are clad with hundreds of narrow mesh steel mats over steel frames to produce optical effects for passers-by based on the external light conditions. The two structures offer the element of surprise in terms of scale when one approaches them and transparency from the exterior employing a large glass façade at the base of the steel mats.
6. Court of Justice of the European Communities, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
To accommodate the rising number of member countries of the European Union, Dominique Perrault Architecture was invited to develop the fourth extension of the Court of Justice that would co-exist in harmony with the previous extensions. Two identical gold office towers of 100m height were introduced, making them the tallest buildings in Luxembourg.
Moreover, from the main entrance of the building, a grand central court is reached through a ramp. The ambience of the court was exemplified by a large floating shimmering gold flower made of a woven steel veil. This ornament was intended to bring warmth to the chamber alongside timber-lined walls and flooring.
7. New Mechanics Hall, Lausanne, Switzerland
The most recent redevelopment of the mechanical engineering building as part of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne by Dominique Perrault Architecture and Steiner team was planned as two blocks that were connected by a large vibrant central atrium.
Here, a series of dynamic lines were emphasized by stairways and flared corridors that run diagonally from one floor to another. The highlighting feature of the new mechanics hall is the hinged outer skin composed by modules of metal mesh panels that are tilted at 5° from the façade with varying slants. The panels that may be operated by automation or manually serve the purposes of sound insulation and solar protection.
8. Albi Grand Theatre, Albi, France
The Albi Grand Theatre was built as a monument representative of changing contemporary styles in a small French city characterised by its monotony of pink Languedoc brick buildings.
The theatre sits in an urban plaza, with a simple cuboidal volume of concrete, clad with brick. The front façade, however, is glazed entirely to present a dramatic play of light and colour. Also, a curved anodized-aluminium mesh with a reflective greenish-gold finish is draped around the building as a purposeful ornament to manage daylight conditions.
9. Piazza Garibaldi, Naples, Italy
As a significant transportation hub and urban plaza shared by two stations, the Piazza Garibaldi was designed following two of the signature elements that are characteristic of Dominique Perrault’s work, namely, buried architecture and metal mesh screens.
The ground level is composed of a large promenade, gardens and ponds that are covered by a framework of eight metallic trees fitted with perforated metal sheets of varying densities to allow variations in appearance and a play of light. The stations, along with the commercial galleries and markets are inserted underground, beginning at 8m under the urban square level.
10. Arganzuela Footbridge, Madrid, Spain
In an attempt to bring Madrid’s urban life closer to the overlooked Manzanares river due to its close proximity to the highway, a 300-acres park was developed along the riverfront. The park consisted of 33 bridges connecting neighbourhoods on either side of the river, and among them was the Arganzuela footbridge designed as two cork-screw shaped conical cylinders with steel ribbons wrapped by a wire mesh.
The bridge accommodates both pedestrians and cyclists to link both sides of the river and also provide direct access to the park.
11. La Liberte, Groningen, Netherlands
La Liberte is a mixed-use residential and office complex located in the outskirts of Groningen, a city listed as one of Netherland’s 10 major cities. The sites near the highway were constrained from occupying much land and encouraged to be built high to preserve green spaces between constructed areas.
Consequently, Dominique Perrault Architecture designed two towers that were stacked over a large platform of glass that contained the office spaces. The towers were formed with identical cubes for the residences that were treated with neutral colours of black, grey and white. The first tower of 40m height contains a single volume, while the second tower of 80m height was built as two cubes stacked over one another, and slightly shifted.
12. ME Barcelona Hotel, Barcelona, Spain
The ME Hotel in Barcelona was designed as two volumes stuck to another; a cubic mass acting as a counterpoint behind a 120m high rectangular tower parallelepiped cut lengthwise in two, with one half shifted towards the sky and thus forming a cantilever 20m above road level to mark the entrance to the hotel.
13. New Longchamp Racecourse, Paris, France
In a competition held to renovate the Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, Dominique Perrault’s design that followed principles of movement and transparency was selected and executed. The 160m long, four-floor grandstand extends as transparent open shelves to connect every facility at the venue both visually and physically.
Furthermore, this structure was intended to signify motion such as a galloping horse, with an overhanging top floor-oriented towards the finish line.
14. DC Tower-I, Vienna, Austria
The first of two mixed-use towers designed by Dominique Perrault Architecture for Donau City was stated to be the tallest building in Vienna, at a height of 250m across 60 floors. The DC Towers were conceptualized as two halves that were split from a gigantic monolith and hence resulted in an undulating façade with folds.
This attractive profile gives the tower a liquid character, reflecting the various dazzling renditions of the sky. The outer skin of the building is clad with dense anodized aluminium sheets that offer various combinations of light reflectivity.
15. Pont de Sèvres Towers/ Citylights, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Renamed as Citylights to highlight the glowing bracelets on the luminous towers, the Pont de Sevres Towers were renovated in 2016 to create a well-crafted complex of large plazas, gardens and passageways between the new office buildings.
The Citylights towers were extruded over a combination of hexagonal plans such that every office space within the building receives uninterrupted light throughout the day and also captures 360° views of Paris and its suburbs.
- National Library of France
- Ewha Woman’s University
- Olympic Tennis Centre
- Fukoku Tower
- Velodrome and Olympic Swimming Pool
- Court of Justice of the European Communities
- New Mechanics Hall
- Albi Grand Theatre
- Piazza Garibaldi
- Arganzuela Footbridge
- La Liberte
- ME Barcelona Hotel
- New Long Champ Racecourse
- DC Tower-I
- Pont de Sevres Towers/ Citylights