A French architectural practice with a worldwide presence and offices in three metropolitan cities- Paris, Shanghai & Venice- Architecture Studio is a conglomerate comprising a multi-disciplinary team of 150 architects, urban planners, designers, et al of diverse nationalities, led by a confederation of 14 partners. Established in 1973, the over-forty-year-old firm has practiced socially-engaged architecture since its commencement. The firm has won numerous accolades and recognitions on international platforms for its innovative approach and constant endeavor to resolve ecological issues prevalent in the 21st century. With their belief in collective dialogue, virtues of exchange, participation, and zealousness, Architecture Studio has established its niche in the world of architecture.

Commemorating their contribution to the field of architecture and urban planning, here is a list of 15 contemporary projects by Architecture Studio, France :

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1. National Theatre of Bahrain

The National Theatre of Bahrain is a cultural complex situated alongside the Bahrain National Museum in Manama, Bahrain. This cubic glass-shaped building is exquisitely situated amidst the waters of a lagoon and comprises a majestic 1001-seat auditorium. 

The shimmering roof of interweaved, perforated ribbons enhances the floating complex with its silver sea-like appearance emerging from a golden volume. The allegorical cultural center is an ambassador for the edifying cultural and artistic dynamism of the kingdom of Bahrain. 

National Theatre of Bahrain - Sheet1
The floating complex of Théâtre National du Bahreïn ©Architecture Studio
National Theatre of Bahrain - Sheet2
1001-seat auditorium at Théâtre National du Bahreïn ©Architecture Studio
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Entrance vestibule of Théâtre National du Bahreïn ©Architecture Studio

2. Jinan Cultural Center

Located in the mixed-use district of Jinan, the political, economic, cultural, and financial capital of the Shandong province in China, this urban conglomerate is a neoteric portal to the emerging city. Amalgamating three preeminent complexes- the library, performing arts center & Plastic Arts museum, the colossal built structure is concluded with a shopping center, offices, housing & a 2000-car parking lot. Designed as a juxtaposition of diamond forms with interconnected public forums, the epochal architecture of the space offers a sustainable urban development for the residents and a landmark to the city.

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Centre Culturel de Jinan ©Architecture Studio
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The three components of Centre Culturel de Jinan ©Architecture Studio
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View at night of Centre Culturel de Jinan ©Architecture Studio

3. Om Building

An urban landmark, designed using the philosophies of Feng Shui, this homogenous housing complex is located at a corner avenue in the town of Issy-Les-Moulineaux, France. With the desire to create an innovative urban microcosm, the building envelope subsists of a coalescence of housing units, for social well-being, accession, generic usage along with a commercial base, and a children’s center.

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The accommodation is weaved around a central patio for a congregation, leading to four corner halls. The unilateral image of the building, with subtle evolution conforming to orientation, offers a simple, readable, and stable urban marker to the city.

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Ôm Building ©Architecture Studio
Om Building - Sheet2
Ôm Building ©Architecture Studio
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Ôm Building ©Architecture Studio

4. DoraMar

The DoraMor project, located in the coastal city of Montpellier, France, is a novel residential settlement in a dynamic neighborhood. The eponym “DoraMor” is a celebration of the Cubist painter, Pablo Picasso, and the succession of volumes can be paralleled to his revolutionary style of cubism. 

Responding to the ecological surrounding and urban landscape, the skin transcends from continuous to concise, creating active terraces for its users facing the magnanimous city. The gold façade creates an environmental envelope, playing with light and shadow and expiating variable perceptions to the passerby and the residents alike. 

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The glittering building, DoraMar ©Architecture Studio
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The glittering building, DoraMar ©Architecture Studio
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The glittering building, DoraMar ©Architecture Studio

5. The Grand Adawlato Market

The Grand Adawlato Market, located at the heart of the city of Lome, Togo, is also popularly recognized as the Grand Market of Lome. Deemed as an iconic urban symbol of the city, the three-level built complex integrates current merchants along with welcoming new services.

A dynamic and permeable urban fabric with unique Togolese chimera compliments the multiple uses- terrace garden, restaurant, event spaces, shopping arena-of the building. The combination of a concrete base with a curtain of brickwork on the upper levels, crowned by a porous fabric headdress brings airiness and flexibility to the design, making the market the imperative place to be.

The Grand Adawlato Market - Sheet1
Le Grand Marché d’Adawlato ©Architecture Studio
The Grand Adawlato Market - Sheet2
Le Grand Marché d’Adawlato, also known as Grand Marché de Lomé ©Architecture Studio
The Grand Adawlato Market - Sheet3
West & South Façade of Le Grand Marché d’Adawlato ©Architecture Studio

6. Palazzo Meridia

The tallest wooden office building in France, this openwork, eco-friendly, monolithic structure is located in the city of Nice. The sui generis double façade design enables the inception of terraces or outdoor workplaces, conceptualized to be the “third places”, conducive to chance encounters, social interactions, happenstance, and rendezvous. The 9-storey building with an open plan and tree-like outer skin, reaching towards the sky, offers an environmentally responsive design with an innovative sustainable approach. The new-age design of the building is a bearer of novel usage values and ideation of out-of-the-box thinking.

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Palazzo Méridia ©Architecture Studio
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Third Places at Palazzo Méridia ©Architecture Studio
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Open floor plan layout of Palazzo Méridia ©Architecture Studio

7. ESSEC Business School Campus

One of the most prestigious French business schools, the extension of the ESSEC Business School Campus aspires to emblematize the pivotal principles of the school: innovation, excellence, responsibility, diversity, and most importantly, humanism. Incorporating digital innovation and promoting social interactions, the autonomous design is an efficient system, regulating solar heat gain, thermal comfort, and air movement. The interstitial space offers great flexibility of uses on the campus, collective learning pockets, nomadic offices, individual spaces, and areas conducive to conviviality.

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Campus ESSEC Business School ©Architecture Studio
ESSEC Business School Campus - Sheet2
Campus ESSEC Business School ©Architecture Studio
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Campus ESSEC Business School ©Architecture Studio

8. National Science Museum of Tibet

Atop one of the highest cities of the world, Lhasa, the Museum of Natural Sciences echoes the Buddhist culture omnipresent in the Tibetan landscape. The exceptional site, located in the heart of the Himalayas, provides a scenic view and international scope. 

Wrapped around a large central hall, the façade is an ode to Buddhism, inspired by the bliss scarf, “khata”, with an interwoven fabric in a mandala pattern. The intricate design enables the incorporation of photovoltaic cells, water treatment, and recovery system, whilst filtering heat, light, and micro-temperature. The anomalous museum brings together the past, the present, and the future of the Tibetan culture. 

National Science Museum of Tibet - Sheet1
View at night of the Musée des Sciences Naturelles du Tibet ©Architecture Studio
National Science Museum of Tibet - Sheet2
Conceptual Plan of the Musée des Sciences Naturelles du Tibet ©Architecture Studio
National Science Museum of Tibet - Sheet3
Play of light and shadow at Musée des Sciences Naturelles du Tibet ©Architecture Studio

9. Faculty of Human Sciences

The ecological campus of the Southern University of Sciences and Technology of China is placed on a mountainous topography, in the city of Shenzhen. The building complex is a contemporary interpretation of the Chinese style of Lingnan, drawing inspiration from the curvature of the hills and progression of the Dasha river. The three distinct buildings accentuate the splendiferous blend of water, mountains, landscape, and passageways. The amalgamation of the modern glass façade with traditional Lingnan style stone formulates a connection between modernity and timeworn practices creating a rich and elegant atmosphere. 

Faculty of Human Sciences - Sheet1
Faculté des Sciences Humaines ©Architecture Studio
Faculty of Human Sciences - Sheet2
Faculté des Sciences Humaines ©Architecture Studio
Faculty of Human Sciences - Sheet3
Faculté des Sciences Humaines ©Architecture Studio

10. New RuiAn Library

Avowed as the “garden city of literature”, the library of RuiAn is a collusion between the authentic culture of China and the modernity of its activities in contemporary architectural writing. The design draws inspiration from one of the oldest libraries in China, the Xinlan Bookyard, as well as the traditional techniques of printing characters. 

Situated on the banks of a lake, the main reading spaces interact directly with the waters, creating an intertwined landscape and architecture. The attenuate play of shadow and light punctuate the roof and façade of the building, while the subtle colors- grey and white with a dark metallic roof- are reminiscent of the old cities of Southern China. This new-age library is commemorative of a literary city in the urban context of Rui’An.

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Nouvelle bibliothèque de RuiAn ©Architecture Studio
New RuiAn Library - Sheet2
Nouvelle bibliothèque de RuiAn ©Architecture Studio
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Nouvelle bibliothèque de RuiAn ©Architecture Studio

11. “Hi” Jack Green Desks

The LEED Platinum rated office building is located in the dynamic neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. A mixed-use fabric emerging amidst a pestered urban development, the building propounds a remarkable resilience and conspicuous quality in the usage of the site. Deployed in three volumes, with strips of landscape in between, the design offers immense comfort to its users with its triple-height halls and well-lit interactive spaces. The interiors are further activated by the gigantic staircases and corridors with landscaped terraces. With its welcoming and colorful façade, ecological sustainability, and access to nature, the project is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise irritant urban surrounding.  

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“Hi” Bureaux Jack Green ©Architecture Studio
"Hi" Jack Green Desks - Sheet2
“Hi” Bureaux Jack Green ©Architecture Studio
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“Hi” Bureaux Jack Green ©Architecture Studio

12. New Town of Yennenga

South of Ouagadougou, the new town of Yennenga in Burkina Faso, is a symbolic representation of the history of its people and takes inspiration from the culture and traditions of the region. Taking its name from a Burkinabe princess, the center of the city (eye of this heroine) is epitomized by an iconic tower, visible from all around. The master plan comprises places of worship, a center for fine arts, a conference area, and a stud farm. To cope with the prevalent climatic conditions, the north is lined by tall buildings with more parsimonious dwellings towards the south. Solar energy, water recovery, and wind control enhance the ecological autonomy of the city.

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Aerial View of the Ville Nouvelle de Yennenga ©Architecture Studio
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Center of the city, Ville Nouvelle de Yennenga ©Architecture Studio
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Ville Nouvelle de Yennenga ©Architecture Studio

13. Digihall Project

Located at the center of the Saclay plateau, France, the prototypical digital campus incorporates avant-garde activities with integral research programs. This multi-disciplinary institute is at the spearhead of innovation, intertwining multiple skills and services in a unified architectural composition. The building integrates galleries, corridors, streets, and public squares encouraging encounters and interaction. With three new buildings: a reception building with INRA headquarters, the CEA List building, and the System-X building, the complex enhances perspectives and rejuvenates the mind. The vertical walkways and succession of balconies in the façade further endorse sharing and dynamism. 

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Projet Digihall ©Architecture Studio
Digihall Project - Sheet2
Projet Digihall ©Architecture Studio
Digihall Project - Sheet3
Projet Digihall ©Architecture Studio

14. The Great Lighthouse of Issy 

Positioned at the heart of a complex and mixed urban fabric, this eclectic corner building is a transit system along with a residential tower. Spearheading the development of the city of Issy-Les-Moulineaux, France, the project rises from the station and becomes a legitimate cornerstone for the city. The two juxtaposed residential volumes are derived from the alignment of the site, with the lower volume’s terrace being converted into a community space. The acute angle is softened, highlighting the delicacy of the context. The colorful facade consists of glazed doors complimenting the materials of the surrounding buildings- stone and brick. The symbolical building is a sight both during the day and at night.

The Great Lighthouse of Issy  - Sheet1
The two juxtaposed volumes of Le Grand Phare d’Issy ©Architecture Studio
The Great Lighthouse of Issy  - Sheet2
Planar View of Le Grand Phare d’Issy ©Architecture Studio
The Great Lighthouse of Issy  - Sheet3
A sight at night, Le Grand Phare d’Issy ©Architecture Studio

15. Chongqing New Station District

The Chongqing district development is a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative”. This competition design entry aims to amalgamate three landscape valleys with specific functions allocated to each one. Connecting cultural facilities, via mountains and rivers, the project aspires to strengthen the exchange between the city and the surrounding natural landscape. Bestowing an eminent role to nature, the central valley is devoted to flora and botanical beautification, with urban development and markets extending on either side. With the sole purpose of creating a new urban hub for Chongqing, the design tries to reinvent the emblematic typology of stations in Chinese culture. 

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Aerial View of Quartier de la nouvelle gare de Chongqing ©Architecture Studio
Chongqing New Station District - Sheet2
The Botanic Garden of Quartier de la nouvelle gare de Chongqing ©Architecture Studio
Chongqing New Station District - Sheet3
Aerial View of Quartier de la nouvelle gare de Chongqing ©Architecture Studio

Kavya Jain is an architect by profession with a zest for writing, travelling, reading and eating! She is a young designer trying to use her knowledge for the betterment of the society. She spends her free time pursuing her passion of teaching kids in slums across the city. She is a firm believer of living life one day at a time, because the future will come your way, no matter what anyway!

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