French president François Hollande recently inaugurated the new French Department of Defense H - a monumental, fortress-like structure designed by Agence Nicolas Michelin & Associés. Dubbed "Hexagone Balard," and clad in metal panels and solar glass, the structure is punctured by three chimneys that symbolize the three forces of the French army.
The 165,000-square-meter building is located in the 15th arrondissement, opposite to the Parisian ring, and will house nearly 10,000 people. It looks like a fortress, revealing only the roof of the building, which seems to levitate. Three chimneys punctuate the origami-shaped structure clad in metal panels and solar glass. These three protrusions symbolize the three forces of the army.
Built on stilts, the building is a rhizome, with varying heights that reach the highest point at its center. Its tree-filled campus includes garden spaces dotted with offices. Some of the spaces will be accessible to the public and the inhabitants of the neighboring residential area, including a health center with medical offices, two nurseries, a hairdressing salon and a swimming pool. Thanks to its multi-use character, the building will function as a city within a city.