CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid
photographed by Hufton + Crow


Zaha Hadid's 142-metre tower for French shipping company CMA CGM in Marseille is documented in these new images by London photographers Hufton + Crow (+ slideshow).

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

The 33-storey structure, which was completed in 2011, is currently the tallest building in the city and features a glazed facade with a seam of tinted glass running up through its centre.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

The darkened glass tapers outwards at the top, creating the illusion of swelling upper storeys although the building actually has a rectilinear body that only curves outwards at its base.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

Located within Marseille's 480-hectare Euroméditerranée development zone in the north of the city, the CMA CGM Headquarters functions as the primary offices for the transportation company, bringing together over 2400 employees that had previously been located on seven different sites.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid Architects also designed a 135-metre-long annex building, which is joined to the tower with a curving glass bridge.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

In 2010, when the project was nearing completion, Marseilles studio Exmagina shot a time-lapse movie showing the surrounding activity over the course of one day - watch the movie.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid Architects has recently unveiled designs for a few new projects, including a cultural complex in Changsha, China, a cluster of towers in Bratislava and a masterplan for the site of an old textile factory in Belgrade.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

In recent months the studio has also completed the 330,000-square-metre Galaxy Soho complex in Beijing and a museum of contemporary art at Michigan State University. See more architecture by Zaha Hadid Architects.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

See more photography by Hufton + Crow on Dezeen, or on the photographers' website.

CMA CGM Headquarters by Zaha Hadid

  • Ben

    Huh, interesting to see this – my dad was one of the chief engineers on this project.

    • Paul

      That’s nice.

  • Cam

    One of the only Zaha buildings I’m not repulsed by. It’s rather elegant and simple for something from her.

    • Concerned Citizen

      I agree.

  • Photography is beautiful. Zaha Hadid’s architectural work never ceases to amaze me. I feel that it will stand the test of time and deserve the recognition it receives. Although there are similarities in her projects that might identify them as hers, each project seems unique to its site and client. Show us much more of her office’s great work.

    • guz

      I can’t tell whether this is actually a joke or not.

  • Colonel Pancake

    Faced with an inability to superfluously curve her skyscraper, Zaha wallpapers it with tinted glass to give it that illusion anyway.

  • alex

    Has the building got an inside?

  • morgs96

    Really elegant and lovely.

  • gudrungudrun

    Finally, a real building by Zaha Hadid!

    • Tie

      Come on, really? I’m just as repulsed by most of Zaha’s work as the next architect but she designed some great buildings earlier in her career. Take a look at the CAC building in Cincinnati, an amazing structure by Zaha. I’m sure you’re just jumping on the hate wagon, but take some time to look at where she began as a designer, before her work turned toxic.

      • Tic

        I agree. CAC is an amazing building. Subtle exterior and an amazing interior (especially how the circulation was designed). I really hate how all of her subsequent buildings turned into nothing more than object porn.

  • PMK

    So this is parametricism?

  • Paul

    This cannot be Zaha Hadid, because I actually like it.

    • Andreea


    • iag

      Maybe one of the directors managed to get it out before she got her paws on it?

  • Like the way it looks unzipped. Sexy!

    • Stefan

      My first thoughts as well! Really like this building.

  • Kris

    Why don’t we ever see Zaha Hadid interiors? They are always these atmospheric glossy magazine images of the exteriors. The space people actually use, that would be far more interesting. Then maybe I wouldn’t perceive her work to be lifeless sculptures.

  • It’s class. A pleasure to photograph despite the biting 40mph wind.

  • Dylan

    Wow, it almost looks like a fat man trying to do up his blazer. Unfortunately he has failed so many times that he gave up and it looked like this!

  • David

    Shows how Zaha Hadid Architects’ work and any other parametricism will always be flash in the pan. This looks old/cheap/disposable already.

  • zizi

    Pretty lame. Is this a low cost Hadid?

    • desk

      It’s not lame, you’re lame. It is elegant. Much better than the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere hodge podge of crap. I don’t like Zaha’s work in general but this is one of the few.

      • zizi

        Okay, the first project is ten years old. Now I get why it looks like a tower for a Kazakstani oil czar.

  • Cool movie (but a bit old now) about this great project:

  • Shanil

    Simple and elegant!

  • No interiors unfortunately. We couldn’t get access within the shot time frame.

  • No interiors, unfortunately. We couldn’t get access within the short time frame.

  • Memo to Dezeen: have you considered a section devoted to Starchitects Most Hated By Our Members? I really wanna know if Zaha comes on top of Gehry and Foster! :P

    • I like it what is it

      My list of overrated starchitects would read something like this: Graves, Libeskind, Hadid, Gehry, Foster.

  • Whatwhy

    More subtle and understated than many of Hadid’s other projects. I really like this one! Feels like a real piece of architecture.

  • archfan

    First Zaha building (exterior) I really like – her aesthetic is so much more powerful when it’s subdued, as here.

  • Awful boys! It looks like postmodern something, and again sci-fi, but low-budget sci-fi. Compare this with Mies’ Seagram and tell me please which one is modern? Come on!

    • Anton Huggler

      My sentiments exactly!

  • Henri

    I live close to the place, this giant hides the sun from the small houses behind him. They killed the coast with this design. Architects think they design buildings like they design products. That’s nonsense! Move this building away!

  • Wolf

    Too bad its in Marseille. That place is a toilet.

    • Citizen

      Actually, it could be a clean toilet if most of the people here weren’t crap/poop/shit (whatever the name you give)

  • Lewis

    A bit KPF to me.

  • DAW

    Wow, congrats to the project team, this is really nice. Unlike the boring maya mania the office keeps churning out these days this is elegant and unique but not over the top. Love it!

  • ashish thakur

    Well I’m glad of the response to Zaha. Unfortunately, good architecture does not seek attention. It simply needs to inspire simple living, instead of loud and brash iconic and most unfriendly environmental buildings.