Charleroi’s museum of photography brings new life to a former convent’s garden.

The team in L’Escaut Architecture, leaded by Olivier Bastin, converted the garden of a former Carmelite convent into the new wing of the Charleroi Museum of Photography. The architect’s challenge was to transform this beautiful introspective orchard into a public gateway for culture, sports and education.

Charleroi Museum of Photography © Gilbert Fastenaekens

Charleroi Museum of Photography © Gilbert Fastenaekens

 

Located on the inside of a city block and hidden to the view of the general public, the new wing of the Charleroi Museum of Photography attempts to bring new life to the orchard of a former Carmelite convent. This remarkable garden, full of protected trees, shares its wall with a neighbouring school and sporting facilities, making it an important spot as a new node in Charleroi, qualified to connect culture, education and sports. The surrounding constructions and the park itself create a new landscape to be explored by visitors and locals alike.

The building was designed by L’Escaut Architecture,a multidisciplinary team of professionals -one of whom is Olivier Bastin, former bMa of Brussels and forthcoming juror of BigMat International Award 2015.

 

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New urban landmark for Charleroi by Ateliers Jean Nouvel

The Charleroi police headquarters has been installed in a blue tower building which is a reminder of the dark blue colours of the police force. The idea is to create a city scale landmark which is not too high, as a sort of dialogue with the City Hal belfry, and as a message stating that the police force services are open to all at all times.

 

© Filip DUJARDIN

© Filip DUJARDIN

 

Extract from the Press Realease by the architect, Ateliers Jean Nouvel.

Police and Dance, a pas de deux.

It is both strange and somehow stimulating to combine a police headquarters and a dance company on the same site. Urban districts move, cities change, we are in an era of transformation. In Charleroi, Belgium, we have built a new police headquarters and extended the Charleroi Danses buildings. These transformations were an opportunity to create a new urban space that can be reached from the street and that we wanted to be active and bustling. This is why a large brasserie was created at its heart, a place where users of the site and its neighbours can meet.

The Charleroi police headquarters has been installed in a blue tower building which is a reminder of the dark blue colours of the police force. The idea was to create a city scale landmark which is not too high, as a sort of dialogue with the City Hal belfry, and as a message stating that the police force services are open to all at all times. We installed the lobby in the extension to Charleroi Danses, it is a large red nomad tent that reminds of the lightness of dancers. Its vast terrace visible from the public area also underlines the permanence of this internationally reputed institution. The unexpected combination of the new Charleroi police headquarters, of Charleroi Danses, of a brasserie and a public square should create new urban poetry in the upper city.

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