The small town of Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, in central France, has very recently inaugurated Point H^UT, a new social centre dedicated to architecture events and workshops, occupying the grounds of a former industrial site. Among the many events and exhibitions programmed is Barnum City, a reflection on fairground architecture concerning the occupation and transformation of surrounding territory. Ranging from circus halls to merry-go-rounds, the exhibition aims at the constructive diversity of these dream-like architectural objects.
Originally produced by the Maison de l’architecture et de la ville Nord-Pas-de-Calais, and curated by Odile Werner and Sophie Trelcat, Barnum City – Architecture Foraine will be open until June 11, 2015, as part of Point H^UT’s official inauguration programme of events.
In London, the old Battersea Power Station is reinvented as a museum of architecture, designed by Atelier Zündel Cristea. AZC imagine a journey around the factory that wraps it with a gigantic rollercoaster-like transparent mesh, maintaining the still impressive testimony of a by-gone industry.
In Chicago, the James Corner Field Operations office -in partnership with nArchitects– redraw the Navy Pier, reconquering the shores of Lake Michigan. In Evian, a few years ago, Patrick Bouchain built the wooden Grange au Lac, the 1,200-seat concert hall ran by Mstislav Rostropovich. Whatever their scale or their mission, these projects are all based on fair stalls and machineries from which they borrow techniques, form or even norms.
It is this theme of fairgrounds and circus’ worlds to which the MAV devotes its spring exhibition. Under the title Barnum City, twenty contemporary architecture projects will be presented. The exhibition is certainly about construction issues, but especially about the construction that is dedicated to the discovery and promotion of a territory dominated by the user’s physical sensations, such as the watchtower design amidst the palm grove of Elche, in Spain. Designed by Sanaa, the installation consists of a long suspended pedestrian walkway to cross and look over the tops of the palm trees of this Unesco World Heritage Site.
Other kind of structures, mobile ones, decline a specific architectural design in exchange for the ability to be assembled and disassembled at will, and for taking over a specific territory for a given period of time. In this manner we can understand MuMo, the mini-museum of contemporary art designed by Adam Kalkin, or the flexible and inflatable theater by Hans -Walter Müller. The event also aims to show the institutions dedicated to the very teaching of circus arts, incorporating specific facilities such as permanent theaters and rehearsal rooms with their shapes adapted to practice this art.
Finally, the merry-go-round finds a new youth, as seen in the new Marine Worlds Carrousel in Nantes, or Jane’s Carousel, dating from 1922, situated in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn and which was covered in glazing by Atelier Jean Nouvel. Both cases make visible the transformation of territories in which they settle.
Works present in the exhibition
Chapiteaux revisités (Circus Tent revisited)
– Zénith de Paris, Paris (1985) – Chaix & Morel (FR) – Client : Ministère de la Culture
– La grange au lac, Évian (1993) – Patrick Bouchain + cabinet BAOS (FR) – Client : BSN (Danone)
Exploration physique du territoire et de l’architecture
(Physical exploration of architecture and territory)
– Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain, Duisbourg (2011) – Heike Mutter et Ulrich Genth (DE) – Client : Ville de Duisbourg
– Mirador pour la Palmeraie, Elche (2009) – STAR Strategies + architecture (NL) – Client : Ville d’Elche
– Mirador pour la Palmeraie, Elche (2009) – SANAA (JP) – Client : Ville d’Elche
– Navy Pier, Chicago (2011) – James Corner Field Operations + nArchitects (USA) – Client : The Centennial Vision
– Turda Salt Mine (2010) – Pro Atrium (RO)
– Musée d’architecture, Londres (2013) – Atelier Zündel Cristea (FR) – Client : Archtriumph
– Gow Nippon Moon (2012) – UNStudio (NL) – Client : Ferris Wheel Investment Co. Ltd
– Hôtel 6 étoiles dans le parc du Mercantour (1983) – Guy Rottier (FR)
Montage – Démontage (Assembling – Disassembling)
– Mumo (2010) – Adam Kalkin (USA) – Client : Fondation L’art à l’enfance
– Centre Pompidou Mobile (2011) – Construire – Patrick Bouchain & Loïc Julienne (FR) – Client : Centre Pompidou
– Tepee (1992) – Chaix & Morel (FR) – Client : Réunion des Musées Nationaux
– La Bulle, théâtre mobile – Hans-Walter Müller+ Agence Scèn&Act (FR) – Client : Addim70
– Les grandes tables de l’île, Paris (2011) 1024 Architecture + EXYZT (FR) – Client : Les grandes tables + SAEM Val de Seine
– Quiet Motion (2013) – Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec (FR) – Client : BMWi
– Jane’s Carrousel, New York (2011) – Ateliers Jean Nouvel (FR) – Client : Jane’s Carousel
– Carrousel des mondes marins, Nantes (2012) – La Machine + Nicole Condorcet et Christophe Theilmann (FR) – Client : SPL Le Voyage à Nantes
L’enseignement des arts du cirque (The teaching of circus arts)
– Académie Fratellini, Saint-Denis (2003) – Construire – Patrick Bouchain & Loïc Julienne (FR) – Client : Cirque Fratellini
– Centre National des Arts du Cirque, Châlons-en-Champagne (2011) – ARM Architecture + NP2F (FR) – Client : OPPIC
– CIRC Pôle National des Arts du Cirque, Auch (2012) – ADH architectes (FR) – Client : Ville d’Auch (FR)
Barnum City – Architectures Foraines
April 18, 2015 / June 11, 2015
20 rue des Grands Mortiers,
Exhibition description adapted from original.
News source: Architecture Aujourd’hui