La Luciole Concert Hall \ Moussafir Architects

• June 1, 2013

Situated on the edge of Alençon, in the rural landscape of Lower Normandy, La Luciole – French for «firefly» – resulted from the efforts of its passionate director-«programmateur». Founded in 1994, this concert facility has carved itself a reputation, attracting renowned musicians to its tiny performance hall.

MA La Luciole 01 photo Luc Boegly 600x343 La Luciole Concert Hall \ Moussafir Architects

courtesy Moussafir Architects, photo by Luc Boegly

Several years ago, the municipality has agreed to finance the extension of La Luciole. The competition brief required a larger, 650-strong concert hall that would however maintain the sense of intimacy and the enveloping quality that defined the original space. The desire to bring people maximally close to the stage has literally shaped the restructured venue wherein artists are almost surrounded by their audience.

MA La Luciole 09 photo Luc Boegly 600x399 La Luciole Concert Hall \ Moussafir Architects

courtesy Moussafir Architects, photo by Luc Boegly

The brainstorming phase saw the building?s forms evolve from rectangular to cylindrical, yet the core idea – two tilted, interconnected volumes containing the audience and the stage – remained intact. «It’s somewhat bizarre, and eccentric, and very different from everything else designed by our office,» notes Jacques Moussafir. This is partly explained by the project?s dynamic tempo: the competition proposal was done in ten days. More importantly, the bold geometry and exuberant color scheme reflect the strong, flamboyant personality of the man who has created La Luciole.

MA La Luciole 14 longitudinal section 600x332 La Luciole Concert Hall \ Moussafir Architects

courtesy Moussafir Architects

Structurally, the project consists of two cylindrical steel frames and a concrete enclosure for the stage (smaller concrete boxes are used for entrances and exits). An arch emerging where the two cylinders intersect marks the border between the stage and the audience. Simple in itself, the steel structure required some serious development work as the architects aimed to minimize the use of materials without compromising stability. Another challenge presented itself while mounting curved insulation panels and suspending acoustic sheets from the rounded surfaces of the performance hall.

MA La Luciole 05 photo Luc Boegly 600x399 La Luciole Concert Hall \ Moussafir Architects

courtesy Moussafir Architects, photo by Luc Boegly

Built by the west entrance to the city, La Luciole appears as an urban beacon, set in counterpoint to the linear façade of the adjacent exhibition centre. The membrane stretched over the auditorium?s circular roof is meant as a projection screen. Exterior finishing relates the building to its natural surroundings. The initial project proposed matt and polished stainless steel cladding that would reflect the ever-changing Normandy skies, yet the reality dictated a more economical solution: corrugated steel siding. Seemingly random arrangement of white and blue panels suggests a pixilated fragment of the sky, often covered with fleeing clouds. With darker shades concentrated where the two cylinders meet, the overall effect evokes a geyser linking the earth and the sky.

MA La Luciole 07 photo Luc Boegly 600x605 La Luciole Concert Hall \ Moussafir Architects

courtesy Moussafir Architects, photo by Luc Boegly

+ Project data

CLIENT: Alençon City Council
ADDRESS: 171 route de Bretagne, 61000 Alençon, France
BRIEF:
Extension: reception area, 650 seat auditorium, offices, service spaces.
Renovation: bar, rehearsal studio, dressing rooms.
BUDGET: 2,653,000 €. ex tax
NSA: 1,274 sq. m.
COMPETITION: 2004
BUILT: 2008
ARCHITECTS: Moussafir Architectes (Jacques Moussafir with Francesca De Marchi, Nicolas Hugoo, Alexis Duquennoy, Guillaume Cournut, Laurent Théaux and Albert Ruiz)
PARTNER ENGINEERS: A&T (stage designers), Peutz (acoustic designers), Batiserf (structural engineers), Alto (mechanical engineers), René Micout (quantity surveyor).
CONTRACTORS: Sagir (concrete structure), Renaudat (metal frameworks), Arblade (roofing & siding), Vonthron (electricity), Gondouin (waterproofing), Ates (partitions and lining), Daupley (exterior woodwork), R2C (metalwork), Polybat (paintwork), AMG Fechoz (stage machinery), Bezannier (wooden stage flooring), Ducré (HVAC and plumbing), Fabripose (interior woodwork),
Qualiprofil (suspended ceilings), Assisesportive (seating), Audiotechniques (stage electrics), Azur Scénic (stage fabrics), Thyssen (elevator), Gagneux Décors (flooring).
MATERIALS: colourwashed raw concrete; steel structure; veined steel siding by Haironville; multilayered plasterboard lining; polycarbonate panels by Danpalon Everlite; fibracoustic panels in wood fibre and rockwool; aluminium door and window frames (exterior); exposed concrete floor with toughening finish; wooden floor on bearing joist.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Luc Boegly

+ All images and drawings courtesy Moussafir Architectes | photo by Luc Boegly

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Category: Architecture, Culture

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