Frank Gehry's Twinkling Luma Arles Tower Takes Shape In France

New images have been revealed for Frank Gehry's twinkling Luma Arles tower rising in the southern French town of Arles. The new images show that the building was started to be dressed with its facade details - which will be wrapped with 11,000 blocks of stainless steel when completed.

Gehry's tower, located within a 16-acre (64,749-square-metre) site formerly occupied by railroad workshops built in the mid-19th Century, will be one of the six industrial buildings undergoing rehabilitation for Luma Arles, an experimental contemporary art center where artists, researchers, and creators from diverse fields collaborate on multidisciplinary exhibitions and projects. 

In 2004, Maja Hoffmann, an avid Swiss art collector, art patron, documentary filmmaker, impresario, and entrepreneur, established the Luma Foundation in Switzerland to support the activities of artists, independent pioneers, and organizations working in the visual and performing arts, photography, publishing, documentary filmmaking, and multimedia.

In 2013, Hoffmann launched Luma Arles to plan, develop, and manage the Parc des Ateliers, an expansive former industrial site located in Arles, France. 

Situated adjacent to the city's UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Parc des Ateliers serves as the major programmatic and cultural center for Luma's diverse activities.

Within the campus, the six industrial buildings are being renovated by renowned architects, including New York-based Selldorf Architects, and a public park designed by Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets, alongside a mountain-like tower designed by Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry.

Gehry's tower will serve as a resource center and will house a wide range of programs including research facilities, workshop and seminar rooms, and artist studios. 

Luma Arles tower, designed as the main building of the site, will reach 56-metre high above the avenue Victor Hugo and is entirely made up of stainless steel, resembling an urban crystallized sculpture within the industrial buildings. 

Gehry's mountain-shaped tower will have 5,000-square-metre of facade, composed of 300 metal panels that are welded together and 11,000 blocks of stainless steel. At tower's base, there will be a large glass atrium that can be open to the general public. 

The overall campus is privately funded by Maja Hoffmann's Luma Foundation and it is expected to cost around $175M in total, reports The New York Times. Gehry's building is scheduled to be opened in spring of 2020.

Hoffmann works closely with the Luma Arles Core Group (Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, and Beatrix Ruf) on a program of exhibitions and multidisciplinary projects presented each year in the site's newly rehabilitated venues of the Grande Halle, Les Forges, and the Mécanique Générale.

All images © Hervé Hôte

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