November 22 2013
The Turbulences at the FRAC Centre
Marie Le Fort
The latest piece created by Jakob + MacFarlane, the FRAC Centre Orléans is a perfect urban cultural signal. Entitled “The Turbulences”, it sits in the heart of a former military site like a surplus piece of architecture.
When you approach the FRAC Orléans, it as though one is faced with a moonscape, or a growth from another world. A geometric density, an organic fluidity, a bold silhouette, the new building provides the basis for a future-oriented architecture.
“The FRAC tool is like a tool of propaganda art in its purest form, without any of the details tweaked. It is as though it is standing to attention, like a good, well-placed soldier of culture, camping on its site. It imposes its role and its trademark. It imposes the image of culture,” enthuses Claude Parent, facing this unique object by Jakob + MacFarlane.
It must be noted that this extension of the FRAC Centre sits in the heart of a former military site: “We have traced the contours of this cultural center as a place of mediation between the city and the four austere buildings. We relied on the existing to radically transform it and affirm its presence,” says Dominique Jakob and continues: “We have erased the building that stood on the street in front, to open the court and create a in-draught fro; the city to the site.” In the center, the court is raised up, and the ground is a large base of hatched concrete way beneath the feet, causing moments of instability. Between the forms, the eye follows an interlacing of oblique geometric lines that extend the historic structures to compose the iconoclasts of Turbulences.
“This is a place to experience in a multidimensional manner: this design, which is based on digital technologies, has not just been added to the existing site but instead emerges from it. Les Turbulences are the parametric extrusion, a distortion in volume of the frame that runs through the building,” argues Marie-Ange Brayer, director of the FRAC Centre. “In the same conceptual family as the Georges restaurant (2000) at the Centre Pompidou or Les Docks/Cité de la mode et du design (2011) in Paris, this project presents itself as a “plug-over”, a transplant, which returns to a organic movement of growth, and ramification. Its multiple facets fragment the volumes and diffract them in the courtyard, which in turn acts as a faceted tectonic layer. The tension of the spaces both tectonic and organic has led to an architecture where the outlines and the boundaries never stop moving,” says Marie-Ange Brayer.
Until 2 February 2014, with ArchiLab the FRAC Centre is hosting the special exhibition ‘Naturaliser l’Architecture’. “Today, through the use of the most advanced digital tools, architects are designing projects that evolve according to principles similar to those of nature. Closer to science, they develop a thorough knowledge of mathematics, which allows them to artificially simulate the process of formation and unique growth of the kingdom of life.
And so, the architecture is conceived like an organism in perpetual adaptation, capable of evolving in close interaction with the material conditions of its environment,” said the head curator.