Frederic Schwartz Architects


Toulouse, France

International Competition Winner

Toulouse Regional Capital

In 1992, Schwartz Architects, in association with Venturi Scott Brown and Associates and Hermet-Blanc-deLagausie-Mommens, won an international competition to design the capitol of Southwest France in Toulouse. This project is representative of the collaborative history between Frederic Schwartz and Robert Venturi. A collaboration that began with a competition and continued through construction documents.

The design challenge was to create a vivid civic identity that would mesh with both the modest urban fabric of its immediate context and the historic city at its edge. The new Hotel du Department, like many important government buildings, required the combining of repetitive office units with monumental forms appropriate to the official and ceremonial functions of government. The hierarchical combination of uses must suggest a formal and symbolic whole. The project includes 550,000 square feet of offices and public assembly areas, large public plazas, public parks and gardens, restaurants, plus a 1,000 car, 300,000 square feet underground garage - all within a modest and strictly controlled government budget.

The solution was to design two parallel buildings, each six stories high, divided by a pedestrian street crossing the site diagonally to link the historic urban gateway at the Canal du Midi bridge with Toulouse’s new commercial center. The various elements of the building are articulated while the whole suggests an appropriate civic scale.







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