21-12-2023 Natural stone

Who are the winners of the “Building with natural stone in the 21st century” competition?

23 recent projects built primarily with natural stone were assessed by the judges on the famous architecture awards.

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The seventh edition of the “Building with natural stone in the 21st century” architecture awards was held during the 2023 Rocalia trade show. The judges, led by Michel Goutal, ACMH (chief architect for historical monuments), assessed 23 recent projects built primarily with natural stone. Check out the winners of the latest edition of this prestigious architectural competition!

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2023 Grand Prize award: Saint-Dizier covered market


marché couvert de Saint Dizier
© Photo Olivier Mathiotte


This year’s headline prize was awarded for the restrained design of these business premises in the town’s historic center. This masterpiece is seeking to revitalize the city center by reinstating a focal point for trade and craft businesses. This new “economic locomotive” aims to:


  • establish a gourmet market;
  • foster dialog between residents and the historic center;
  • devise commercial architecture that addresses contemporary challenges;
  • organize new flows in public space.


The elegant Euville stone marketplace appealed to the judges, and this fine project was their unanimous pick. The rough and dressed stone arches segue into a Vosges spruce roof frame, paired with a steel structure to support the roof and floor over a 30 m (98 ft) span.


Client: Saint-Dizier city
Project management: Christophe Aubertin / Aurélie Husson / Collectif Studiolada
Stone contractors: SNBR / Rocamat - Polycor

Business Buildings award: La Romaine school complex


groupe scolaire la romaine
©  Photo Camille Sonally


With the decision to revive a quarry that had been disused since 2014, solid stone was an obvious choice, harnessing local know-how and limiting gray energy. The new school’s structure consists almost exclusively of locally-sourced Vers stone that was dressed onsite. This project made it possible to:


  • Temporarily resume activity at the disused quarry;
  • Create a BEPOS-certified, positive-energy school building;
  • Raise students' awareness of local expertise.


This extremely astute, environmentally-friendly project uses round and catenary arches to avoid the need for concrete.


Client: Vers-Pont-Du-Gard city
Project management: Tessier Portal Architects
Stone contractors: Carrière de Provence / Chazelle

Housing award: Résidence Pèiro


© Photo Florence Vesval


In the town of Gignac-la-Nerthe, around 10km from Marseille, a new housing development is coming alive around a flagship residential property with a hybrid structure featuring solid structural stone, concrete and wood. This building includes:


  • 8 units with exterior entrances;
  • loggias to the south;
  • balconies to the west; 
  • communal gardens.


Vers stone from the adjacent quarry rubs shoulders with concrete and wood, forming an ensemble with a distinctive identity. Stone cores quarried for use in quoins have been re-purposed to create a novel mashrabiya on the facades and allow light into the communal spaces.


Client: 3F Sud
Project management: Atelier Régis Roudil Architectes
Stone contractors: Provençale PMG / Proroch

Urban Design & Planning award: Landscaped parking lot


parking paysage
© Laurent Farges

What if a parking lot could also be an urban garden? Such was the ambition of this project in Saint-Didier-Au-Mont-D'Or. It expands the public domain, offering:


  • 86 parking spaces;
  • a central courtyard providing light and ventilation;
  • a pergola for plant cover;
  • two gardens.


The parking lot uses blocks of Vers stone and Beaunotte stone (diamond-cut to follow the lot’s curving lines), giving it the golden ocher color typical of the Monts d'Or. This urban development used salvage and demolition stone to build benches and low walls.


Client: Saint-Didier-Au-Mont-D'Or city
Project management: Elisabeth Polzella architecte
Stone contractors: Carrières de Provence / Coquaz et Béal / Truffy Maçonnerie

Landscaping award: Resilience Observatory


observatoire de la résilience
© Photo Hugues Hernandez

The new Resilience Observatory in the Gorges du Gardon Biosphere Reserve serves multiple purposes:


  • visually mark the presence of the Biodiversity Reserve;
  • raise public awareness regarding the preservation of everyday dry-stone heritage structures;
  • celebrate and promote the know-how of builders past and present;
  • offer a place from which to observe and reflect on the landscape;
  • share the natural poetry of the garrigue scrub-land.


This limestone-built landscaped structure is notable for its geometric lines and the tribute paid to our ancestors’ use of small dry-stone structures, while standing in counterpoint to the rounded forms of the area’s typical pastoral structures.


Client: Syndicat Mixte des Gorges du Gardon
Project management: Replica Architecture
Stone contractor: Marcopiedra

2023 Special Jury Award: Alain Mimoun Sports Center


complexe sportif alain mimoun
© Agence Artibal

This bold development completely reinvents a dilapidated sports hall built in the 1980s in a rapidly changing district of Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris. This renovation and extension project had to fulfill three major objectives:


  • provide high-quality public facilities; 
  • highlight the ramparts of Issy Fort; 
  • provide an elegant transition between the fort and a dense fabric of single-family homes.


This sports facility’s simple cubic appearance belies ingenious solutions to multiple engineering and architectural challenges. It combines Massangis stone (in the foundations) and Tervoux stone (plain sections), in a nod to the underground quarries worked underfoot during the nineteenth century, while the corten structural steelwork pays tribute to the military past of the nearby fort.


Client: Issy-les-Moulineaux city
Project management: Artibal Agence d'Architecture
Stone contractor: Rocamat Polycor France / Stono

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About the “Building with natural stone in the 21st century” architecture awards


The seventh edition of the "Building with natural stone in the 21st century" competition was held during the 2023 Rocalia trade show. The competition, co-organized by the stone industry association SNROC and the trade journal Pierre Actual, aims to promote natural stone architecture and construction.


Have you helped to design or build a remarkable natural stone structure in the past two years? Enter the competition and garner international peer recognition!

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Associated Partner

Pierre actual
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Rocalia was created in collaboration with Pierre Actual, the only french magazine dedicated to the stone industry.