Next week Zaha will receive the acclaimed Jencks Award in London. This annual award is given to an individual who has recently made a major contribution simultaneously to the theory and practice of architecture. Watch out for the exclusive RIBA PODCAST of Zaha’s talk on WAN.
This project captures the unique combination of three civic institutions - the archives, the library and the sports department, the spectacular design is inspired by the idea of a 'tree of knowledge' as an organizational diagram. The archive is located at the solid base of the trunk, followed by the slightly more porous library, with the sports department and its offices on top. These various parts of this "cite administrative" share several functions at the heart of the building, with auditorium and meeting rooms combining in a huge cantilever canopy above the entrance. The branches projecting off the main trunk on ground floor, articulate the entrances into the various institutions. All the public entrances are located on the western side; whilst the service entrances for staff and loading bays are on the eastern side. In this way the tree-trunk analogy is exploited to organise and articulate the complexity of the overall "cite administrative".