Just weeks after signing an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth 10 billion euros, France has unveiled its answer to the Pentagon: the new Ministry of Defense building in the Balard district just south of Paris. The building cost almost half of the Saudi deal—4.2 billion euros—and brings far-flung military commands under one roof.
President François Hollande was on hand for the opening of the facility, where over 9,000 military officials will work, many extending their commutes from the former command centers spread across Paris, some of which were located in 300-year-old townhouses. The building is part of a government plan to streamline the decision-making process and reduce the overall cost and size of France’s military.
Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian will remain in his 18th century manse on Paris’s Left Bank to remain closer to Parliament and the President and not because the building looks like it was designed in Minecraft.
The new Ministry of Defense covers 41 acres (16.5 hectares, if you’re a medieval farmer) and features missile-proof walls and the largest solar panel-covered roof in the Paris area. It is unknown whether the solar panels are missile-proof. Probably not. The military complex is also known as the Hexagone-Balard for its six-sided shape, which is meant to invoke the shape of France itself and shame the five-sided Pentagon.