Carré d’Art Nimes, France, Architect, Photo, Building, Architecture, Date, Image
Carré d’Art Nimes – Musée d’Art Contemporain
French Architectural Project – design by Foster + Partners, London, UK
21 Nov 2008
Carré d’Art Nimes
Date built: 1984-93
Design: Foster + Partners, Architects
The Carré d’Art shows how a building project, backed by an enlightened political initiative, can not only encourage a dialogue between ancient and modern architectures but can also provide a powerful catalyst for reinvigorating the social and physical fabric of a city. The challenge was to relate the new to the old, but at the same time to create a building that represented its own age with integrity.
16 Place de la Maison Carree
30000 Nîmes, France
Mediathques exist in most French towns and cities. Typically they embrace magazines, newspapers and books as well as music, video and cinema. Less common is the inclusion of a gallery for painting and sculpture. In Nmes, the interaction within the same building of these two cultures – the visual arts and the world of information technology held the promise of a richer totality. The urban context of Nmes also acted as a powerful influence. The site faces the Maison Carre, a perfectly preserved Roman temple. The challenge was to relate new to the old, but at the same time to create a building that represented its own age with integrity.
A singular modern building, yet one that references the courtyard and terraced vernacular of the region, the Carr dArt is articulated as a nine-storey structure, half of which is sunk deep into the ground, keeping the buildings profile low in sympathy to the scale of the surrounding buildings. The lower levels house archive storage and a cinema, while above a roofed courtyard forms the heart of the building, exploiting the transparency and lightness of modern materials to allow natural light to permeate all floors. These upper levels are connected by a cascading staircase, linking the toplit galleries to the shaded roof-terrace caf overlooking a new public square.
The creation of this urban space was an integral part of the project. Railings, advertising boards and parking spaces were removed and the square in front of the building was extended as a pedestrianised realm. The geometry of this piazza follows Nmes Roman grid in recreating tree-lined streets alongside the building and providing a new setting for the Maison Carre. Lined with caf tables and thronged with people, the new square has reinvigorated the social and cultural life of Nmes. Together with these urban interventions, the Carr d’Art shows how a building project, backed by an enlightened political initiative, can not only encourage a dialogue between ancient and modern architectures but can also provide a powerful catalyst for reinvigorating the social and physical fabric of a city.
Client: Ville de Nimes
Consultants: Ove Arup and Partners / OTH Mediterranee, Thorne Wheatley Associates, OTH Mechanical, Claude R Engle, Daniel Commins, Jolyon Drury Consultancy
+33 4 66 67 52 40
Carré d’Art Nimes – Musée d’Art Contemporain images / information from Foster + Partners
Carré d’Art Nimes design : Foster + Partners
Carré d’Art-Nîmes Architecture Exhibition ‘MOVING. NORMAN FOSTER ON ART’
Carré d’Art – Nîmes Museum of Contemporary Art, France
May 3 – Sep 15 2013
Carré d’Art-Nîmes Exhibition
Curators: Norman Foster ; Jean-Marc Prévost, Carré d’Art, Nîmes
Some 2000 years ago, a Roman architect designed what is one of the most inspired buildings left by Latin civilisation, in the heart of the forum. It was, and still is, dedicated to the Princes of Youth, to the grandson of the Emperor Augustus, that friend of Nîmes.
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