The competition of Le Maillon was won in April by LAN (Local Architecture Network) with a proposal based on the idea of theatre as a process, rather than a fixed structure (as they quote in their own statement “the foyer-room-logistic” triade). Their design would smoehow work as a city; it could evolve, change, and transform itself as time goes by and at the user’s will. LAN Architecture is the winner of the French National phase of the Big Mat International Architectural Award.
Originally installed in the district of Hautepierre , northwest of the town, Maillon theatre has been hosted since the late 1990s in the Hautepierre Parc des Expositions, occupying almost all of the ground floor of the exhibition hall. In 2017, it will move from that place to settle in the Wacken-Europe district, northeast, with the objective of improveming its capacity and technical equipment, openess and with no architectural sophistication intent.
Since its creation in 1978, the Maillon theatre wanted to leave the scene, break down the walls and propose an open theatre to a wider audience. In keeping with this mission , the project could be summarized in one phrase: « Ceci n’est pas un théâtre. »
The building becomes a controlled territory, working as a framing structure and essentially hosting scalable and full of potential spaces. At the same time, this volume, mysterious and changing from daytime to nightime, is organized in correspondence with the urban fabric. In front, a coloured concrete skin generates as many windows on the city as views on the inside.
For this competition, five teams were selected as finalists. They were: LAN Architecture ( Paris ), Dominique Coulon & Associés (Strasbourg) , Lipsky + Rollet architects (Paris), Rudy Ricciotti ( Bandol ) and Studio Milou Architecture (Paris).
Extract of the project narrative by LAN:
Since the beginning, the vocation of Le Maillon theatre was to reach outside of its walls and extract the performing arts world from its occasional elitist position. Considering this aspiration and this singular history, our approach aims at conceiving more than a place: a genuine artistic machine, where stage acting and its grounds of production meet. The project substitutes the traditional composition based on the foyer – rooms – logistics triad for the idea of a territory mainly constituted with free spaces, as many voids to reveal and activate. Forming a framework to be able to receive all the considered scenarios, a grid enhances the flexibility and creates places with a wide range of potential uses. The wall becomes what defines both these voids’ status and character. On the outside, facades facing the public space become the interface, from which Le Maillon’s history can be perpetuated. An alternation of volumes and voids give rhythm to the building’s skin, composed of colored concrete and large windows looking out to the city. The geography and location of the project invites us to pursue the logic initiated by the urban project, making up an articulation by stitching up the surrounding elements. From the main axes, the initial extrusion of the plot was carved in order to obtain a volume culminating at the end of the Schutzenberger avenue, creating an angle for the Adrien Zeller piazza and an urban beacon from the Jean Wenger Valentin street. From the outside, this volume suggests a mysterious interiority, changing from day to nightlight. It is a territory of contrasts, surprises, a spatial maze, a landscape articulated between courtyards and terraces. Inside, Piranesian public spaces link together the different rooms, reception space and streets. Façades form light filters allowing the eye to view the city, the park and the surrounding architecture. At night, they become screens by releasing colorful projection of images, as if they were printed on the glass. Abstraction is overcome by figuration, the constant completed by the ephemeral.
Programme: Construction of the new Le Maillon Theater
Location: Strasbourg, France
Client: City of Strasbourg
Cost: € 16.225M excl. VAT
Phase: In Progress
Team: LAN (mandate architect), Terrell (Framework and fluids engineers), Franck Boutte consultants (sustainable engineers), Bureau Michel Forgue (Quantity surveyor), Lamoureux (acoustics), Changement à vue (Scenography)
Schedule: Prospections, from March 2014 to March 2015; building license April 2015; start of the works, July 2015; inauguration beggining 2017.
LAN has received several awards: the Nouveaux Albums de la Jeune Architecture (NAJA) prize awarded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (2004); the International Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Urban Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies, the Archi-Bau Award, the Special Prize at the 12th World Triennale of Architecture, Sofia (2009); the AR Mipim Future Projects Award and the Europe 40 Under 40 Award (2010) and LAN Architecture was also the winner of the French National phase of the Big Mat International Architectural Award (2013).
18th May 1972 Grenoble (fr)
Fascinated by the body’s structure with its logical organisation, layers and strata, Benoit Jallon first turned to medical studies. However, his need for involvement and creativity soon led him to begin studying architecture. He graduated from the Villette School of Architecture in 2001 with a special mention from the jury. Curiosity and a thirst for knowledge have led him to travel widely, particularly in Italy.
27th November 1975 Naples (it)
Umberto Napolitano began his architectural studies in Italy and completed them in France at the Villette School of Architecture where he graduated in 2001 with a special mention from the jury. He rapidly developed a critical approach to the separation between theory and practice. In parallel with his architectural education, he also worked with a number of architects. His involvement in Franco-American workshops has given his work an international flavour and allowed him to absorb other cultures and skills.