daniel fanzutti architecte

Contemporary art gallery in a historical site - Pernes-les-fontaines

Contemporary art gallery in a historical site Pernes-les-fontaines



An exceptional site in the middle of a midieval urban fabric. This particular situation constitutes the major strengths and difficulties of the project which had to undergo all the conformist, cultural codes for three years before obtaining the building permit.

Contemporary architectural design in a historical urban fabric becomes a key issue when confronted to urban regulations which control the image of the area.

The existing facade situated on the interior side, in good condition, is maintained with its openings. On the opposite side, the volumes are rehabilitated, reinforced, and re-designed, and allow an exclusive access into the gallery during opening hours, continuity with the exterior environment of an exceptional quality during evening previews.

The shape of the building and the structure’s complexity, the existing space being divided into small, dark rooms, has helped us imagine the art gallery as a series of open spaces for viewing works of art.
The gallery space was designed by working the interior space like a sculpture with existing irregularities, and prolongs them as if the space was excavated and carved into a rock, a very dense midieval fabric.

The project is formed vertically, in relationship with the surroundings and the « tour de l’horloge » in the background.

In order to bring light into the building, the bottom part of the facade (the first floor) disappears. The steel screen made of similar tones recreate the building's initial meaning. Retractable elements show the way into the gallery, creating the facade’s dynamic composition. During daylight hours, the interior obscurity reveals the building's massive aspect as well as the volumes’ continuity. At night, the building is perceived in the opposite manner; with the artificial interior lighting, the screen becomes immaterial.

The project reflects a very attentive and respectful approach of the environment, reinterprets typologies, the codes and archetypes by suggesting a new meaning.
date: 2006
surface: 600 m2