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BIG's new cultural hub MÉCA made from a giant loop creates an "urban room" in Bordeaux
France Architecture News - Jul 2, 2019 - 04:18 3628 views
BIG's new cultural hub, designed with FREAKS freearchitects, dUCKS scéno, Khephren Ingénierie, VPEAS, ALTO Ingénierie, Vincent Hedont, PBNL, Mryk & Moriceau, and Ph.A, has been opened in Bordeaux, France.
Named MÉCA, the 12,350-square-metre building houses three regional arts agencies - FRAC for Contemporary Art, ALCA for cinema and literature, and OARA for performing arts - under one inhabitable archway, cementing the UNESCO-listed city of Bordeaux as the epicenter for culture.
The building is centrally located between the promenade and Saint-Jean station, the new Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
Conceived as a single giant loop of cultural institutions, the public space is extruded by the pavement of the promenade and become the ramp that leads into the urban living room.
The façade provides glimpses into the stage towers of OARA and the archives of ALCA, and the rooftop enclosing the sky-lit galleries of the FRAC.
At the core of MÉCA, the urban outdoor room invites the arts and everyday life of Bordeaux to flow from the city center to the historic Garonne riverfront, where the former meatpacking district is currently experiencing a cultural rebirth.
A series of steps and ramps directly lead into the urban room, creating a porous institution for visitors to roam from the Quai de Paludate street to the promenade.
During special occasions in the city, MÉCA's outdoor spaces can be transformed into a stage for concerts and theatrical spectacles or are extended gallery for sculptures and other art installations. Above, a 7-meter high MÉCA sign illuminates the space with white LED lights, like a modern chandelier at the scale of the urban room.
Upon entering MÉCA from the ground floor, visitors can access the public lobby and agora surrounding an art installation, or dine at the restaurant furnished with cork chairs in reference to the city known for wine.
On the upper floors, movie-lovers can view screenings ad ALCA's red-accented projections rooms or enjoy performances in OARA's 250-seat theatre, which features flexible seating configurations and acoustic systems optimized by an all-black checkerboard panel of concrete, wood and perforated metal. FRAC occupies the top floor with 7m high exhibition spaces that connect to the public cafe and roof terrace.
"The complexity of the building's geometry fades in favor of the simplicity of its final form, a faceted rock where a single panel weighs 1.6 tons, said BIG in a project description.
The building is covered entirely in raw concrete, the material is sandblasted to texture the surface with local sandstone of Bordeaux, yellow granules for brightness and warmth radiate the building in the sun and integrates MÉCA as a familiar yet new vernacular sight to the city.
Client: Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Collaborators: BIG, FREAKS freearchitects, dUCKS scéno, Khephren Ingénierie, VPEAS, ALTO Ingénierie, Vincent Hedont, PBNL, Mryk & Moriceau, Ph.A, BIG Ideas
Size: 12,350 m2
Location: Bordeaux, France
All images © Laurian Ghinitoiu
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