Breaking Through the Parisian Skyline


Profiled Firm: HAMONIC + MASSON & Associés |  Location: Paris, France
dual-towered structure along the southern bank of the River Seine

In recent years, businesses like the architecture firm HAMONIC + MASSON & Associés actively lobbied to enable Paris to grow upward, reflecting its rising population. Their efforts proved successful in November 2011 when the Paris City Council amended the urban planning laws that govern the Massena-Bruneseau area of the 13th arrondissement and raised the height limitation by roughly 165 feet. 

HAMONIC + MASSON & Associés was one of the first architectural firms to capitalize on this change, partnering with Comte Vollenweider Architects to design the ZAC Masséna Paris Rive Gauche high-rise. This project marked the first collaboration between the two firms. “We both put our egos to one side in order to create one building with its own form and own materials,” says HAMONIC + MASSON Director Jean-Christophe Masson. “Combining two different styles of architecture should have been the pitfall of this project, but we worked harmoniously, and the result speaks for itself.” 

The project’s objective was to mark this landscape with a remarkable building, combining offices, private housing, social housing, and parking, as well as beautiful architecture. HAMONIC + MASSON turned to Vectorworks Architect software to design the dual-towered structure along the southern bank of the River Seine.

Street scene in Paris, France

Experimenting with Urban Design

Masson and his partner Gaëlle Hamonic found inspiration in a twist on the traditional tower structure, which fits in with the firm’s guiding principles of focusing on functionality for clients while also experimenting with the classic “city image.” Each story of the two towers is aligned differently than those above and below it. This series of shifting floors creates a swirling prism that rethinks urban space and is a design that the architects feel has a lot of potential for future projects. The ZAC high-rise achieves diversity by combining 17 stories of public housing in one tower with 14 stories of privately owned flats in another, for a total of 200 units combined. 

HAMONIC + MASSON has received multiple accolades for their work, including the Architecture et Maître d’Ouvrage (AMO) Spécial Saint-Gobain award for the construction of 62 public housing units in the 12th arrondissement, as well as a nomination for the Mies Van Der Rohe Award. Such achievements are a credit to the firm’s 15 associates who work on projects throughout France that include cultural facilities, schools, commercial buildings, offices, and residential projects.

3D model

For us, Vectorworks is an obvious choice. The advantage of using Vectorworks is that it works fast because it’s logical, intuitive, and easy to learn.


Gaëlle Hamonic, Hamonic + Masson & Associés

Innovation Through Vectorworks

HAMONIC + MASSON uses Vectorworks software because it is well-suited for the way the firm works, which means a 2D orientation for competitions and the use of 3D for advanced projects that require more time. 

“For us, Vectorworks is an obvious choice,” says Hamonic. “The advantage of using Vectorworks is that it works fast because it’s logical, intuitive, and easy to learn. Aimed at organized users, Vectorworks is very close to the architect because it’s dedicated to architecture. It’s intuitive.”

Images courtesy of HAMONIC + MASSON & Associés

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