Organic galleries for Art Brut works
LILLE (FR) - The Musée d'Art Moderne, situated in a magnificent park in Lille, was designed by Roland Simounet. Opened in 1983, by the end of the century, the brick building had already achieved heritage status. A European architectural competition held in 2002 for the restructuring of the existing building and design of an extension for a new Art Brut collection was won by Manuelle Gautrand.
The challenge was to reconstitute a continuous and fluid museum space, while adding new galleries suited to the Art Brut works. Gautrand chose to adopt Simounet's approach of hugging the ground plane. The new extension wraps around the north and east sides of the existing arrangement in the form of five splayed fingers adapted to the sloping terrain.
Although the new volumes pick up the scale and composition of the existing museum, Gautrand's extension stands out because of its organic architectural style, which stands in contrast to Simounet's brick building. 'The Art Brut galleries maintain a strong link with the surrounding scenery, but they are also purpose-designed to suit the works that they house: atypical pieces, powerful works that you can’t just glance at in passing,' explains the architect.
The 'lacy' concrete facades with biomorphic motif are indeed conspicuous. But they also function as a screen to protect the artworks from the harmful effects of daylight, while leaving 30 per cent of the glass open for views out.
Prefabricating the wall panels was not an option because it would have meant unsightly joints between panels. Gautrand was keen to preserve the project's organic spirit and so the walls were fabricated on site. In order to be able to create the cell-like structure of voids, Ultra-Performing Fibrous Concrete (UPFC) was used instead of traditional reinforced concrete. (Kirsten Hannema)