area 148 | addition

architect: OPUS 5 architectes

location: Louviers, France

year: 2012

The antique convent of the Penitents, in the city center of Louviers Normandy, is a very exceptional example of ‘cloister on water‘, made of a complex assembly of successive constructions. The monastery was built between 1646 and 1659 for the Franciscan brethren. There used to be a church in the west and two conventual wings surrounding the central building. The remains of the cloister above the river ‘L’Epervier’ are forming an ‘Impressionist’ picture combining stone, vegetation and water in a beautiful harmony. This landscape value has been highlighted and interpreted in the rehabilitation project. The brief was to offer Louviers a new musical school, modern, functional, attractive and representing the town’s cultural policy. The plan was also to highlight the archaeological heritage and its exceptional site in the heart of the city. Finally, the project aimed to display a new image of the place and to shed its prison characteristics. The project of the New Musical School of Louviers in the convent of the Penitents – 24 classrooms, a score library and two big orchestra rooms was raising a certain problematic in term of rehabilitation because of a heavy program implicating substantial interventions: the contemporary extensions have become more important than the existing building. These were conceived in a very tight plot which led the architects to fill all free spaces, removing the “breathings“ and raising these extensions on top of existing walls. The result is a compact project where the new parts dominate the ancient elements; however, the historical construction is still governing. This is an ‘intimate’ program within each task requires isolation and concentration and will adapt to the compact and intimate character of the project. The second extension, replacing the missing parts of the south wing, exposes its front to the water, towards the cloister and the city. Its incredible position represents the key of the project. It hosts the major element of the program: the big orchestra hall. It represents the emblem of the musical school and composes the landscape with natural elements. This façade fits in a simple rectangular glass box with chrome stripes reflecting the surrounding environment and fading in the sky. It appears as an echo to music and as a poetic image of the sound.

architetti: Opus 5 architectes: Bruno Decaris/Agnès Pontremoli/Pierre Tisserand
acustica: Impedance
costo: 4 500 000 euro
area: 2 000 mq
completamento: 2012
fotografie: Luc Boegly, Bruno Decaris