Fish scale-like colored glass clads the iridescent headquarters of Métropole Rouen Normandie, a stunning new landmark for a “future eco-district” in France. Designed by Jacques Ferrier Architecture, the eye-catching building takes inspiration from the impressionist works of Claude Monet, who produced many paintings of the nearby Rouen Cathedral. More than just good looks, the multifaceted structure emphasizes smart energy consumption with passive thermal protection and rooftop solar panels.
Located on the banks of the River Seine, this 8,300-square-meter headquarters manages its massive size by mirroring the landscape and built environment. Its shimmering facade reflects the changing sky and river, while its silhouette and oblique shapes reference nearby industrial buildings and the bows of passing ships. Its fish scale-like facade of subtly colored glass—inspired by Monet’s impressionist paintings—is treated with a layer of metal oxide that creates the colorful iridescent reflection seen on the outside; this effect is unseen in the interior.
Natural light fills the interior, while terraces, open to visitors, offer panoramic views over the city and river. The architects emphasized easy navigation in the building layout organized according to use. A double-skin facade enhances passive thermal insulation. “The transparency and depth of the double façade enhance the variations of light and prevent the building from appearing overbearing,” wrote the architects. “The building’s appearance transforms throughout the day. With the light shining through, it appears to float on the quay.”
Images by Luc Boegly