Jacques Moussafir

Concours FRAC Centre, 2006

Designed for the competition for the reconversion of the Subsistances Militaires (former central military storehouse) for the FRAC Centre, the project by Jacques Moussafir, associated with the artist Laurent Pariente, was on the short list of four finalists. The architect proposed to cover and redevelop the courtyard of the Subsistances to create an interior space for concentrating all public activities (reception, exhibition galleries, teaching facilities, workshop and restaurant, and areas for exchange and relaxation). Moussafir’s plan extends the ground floor of the adjacent buildings to cover the entire area of the courtyard, where the roof is in multifunctional stainless steel and equipped with structural, thermal and scenographic features. This cover—an undulating, mirror surface—acts as a virtual amplifier of the site. Five glass cylinders, which can be rendered opaque when needed, perforate the roof, flooding the interior with natural light and spatially partitioning the redeveloped interior court. By gutting the lateral wings on the ground floor, Moussafir resizes the site as a whole to accentuate the fluidity and continuity of the spaces, in a reference to the Archizoom’s No-Stop-City project (1969). The layouts of these areas were designed keeping in mind the possibility of regular reconfigurations of the areas arranged for receiving the public. In order to unify the perception of the ensemble, the architect colored all the façades in ochre. This architectural gesture succeeds in erasing itself through its neutrality that resonates with this space that seeks above all to be flexible and relational. Responding to this composition are the disorientation-inducing labyrinthine spaces by artist Laurent.

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