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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Redefining a cultural ethos!

By Ar. Shreya Kulkarni
Photography: Courtesy BIG Architects
Read Time: 2 mins
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu

A consortium of architects and BIG chisel a contemporaneous architectural program that translates into a massive monolithic cultural centre, MECA, bringing the people of Bordeaux city together in an awe-inspiring sense of belonging…

Rising boldly on piers alongside the River Garonne stands Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine - MÉCA – an 18,000 sq. m. cultural centre that focusses on an inclusive program of three regional art disciplines - Art, Film, and Performances – looping them contextually to the all-important fourth dimension – the city’s cultural ethos - the Urban Room.

"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu

A large cavity designed as a central atrium or ‘Urban Room’ balances the massive dominance of this opaque volume; contextualising and elevating visitor experience, as it establishes connectivity. The transition from spectator to participant is effected seamlessly through a series of steps and ramps that connect the 1100 sq. m. public vestibule with the urban living room organically, thus redefining the promenade. The stairs and outdoor spaces go way beyond their functional purpose to transform into an amphitheatre for concerts; the extended galleries allowing for sculpture and art installations to further the sense of community.

"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©BIG
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©BIG

Two striking elements elevate the composition of the plaza: a 7-metre high ‘MECA’ illuminating urban chandelier with a warm tint and a bronze sculpture adding delicate counterpoise. The multi-functional plaza that frames an omnipresent vibe from the river branches into a restaurant - furnished in red upholstery and cork chairs designed by BIG – a homage to the city known for its wine; whilst other arts agencies for film, performances and art open to the sides and upper floors respectively. The terrace at its very apex acts as an extension to the exhibition space with a panoramic view of the city echoing the aesthetics.

"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Florent-Michel_Hires
"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu

A simple material - concrete is detailed with rich texture choices depending on its usage: 4,800 prefabricated concrete panels interspersed with windows of various sizes add elegance and pattern to the façade, filtering light and creating a poetic rhythm into the modulating volumes on the inside. Inside the cinema halls, acoustic systems are optimised by all-black checkerboard panels of concrete, wood and perforated metal. Large and heavy concrete slabs are sandblasted to expose its raw qualities and to texture the surface with the local sandstone of Bordeaux. The use of subtle colours brings purity to the art form and shapes a dramatic canvas for its interiors.  

"MECA cultural centre bordeaux BIG Architects indiaartndesign"
©Laurian-Ghinitoiu

Since a cultural centre is an incubator that keeps vernacular traditions alive, MECA’s architectural interpretation in a modern public realm also builds a sense of history.

Fact File: 
Project: MÉCA
Program: Culture
Project type: Competition
Client: Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Collaborators: FREAKS freearchitects, Lafourcade-Rouquette Architectes, ALTO Ingénierie, Khephren Ingénierie, Hedont, dUCKS Scéno, Dr. Lüchinger+Meyer Bauingenieure, VPEAS, Ph.A Lumière, ABM Studio, Mryk & Moriceau, BIG Ideas
Size: 18,000 sq. m.
Location: Bordeaux, France



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