Several types of facility additions were considered as part of our site analysis. We latched onto your idea of adding a library. This is part of a provincial government policy and seems appropriate for our time. The second suggestion you mentioned was the addition of a concert hall. We have integrated this component into the project in a content of cultural diffusion, without hoping to create a new destination but a new place of punctual diffusion, for possible concerts of small ensembles, with a realistic schedule.
To create a lively, busy and efficient place, you need several functions. A diversity of activities is needed. A place with only one function is more likely to lose its users, to dry up. This maxim applies as much to commercial as to urban analyses.
Place of worship
Our project creates a more compact church volume in plan and height than the original church. This corresponds as much to the number of worshippers to be accommodated as it does to a philosophy of rediscovering the warmth of the first places of worship in Christendom, the house churches. We have developed a great deal of expertise in this field and sincerely believe that this is a promising path (see our application booklet).
This concept unfolds as follows:
- Access through the existing outdoor forecourt, a vestige of the community's memory;
- Transition through a hall marking the threshold between the profane and the sacred, a reinvented narthex;
- A tiered nave on the first floor to surround the altar and create 3 zones;
- Access to a rood screen on the second floor where the celebrant can be seen and heard.
Place of Culture - The Interior Parvis
Our proposal for the interior square is a hall of contemporary construction that is oblique to the orthogonality of the church. This volume pierces the stone walls: it is modern life that comes to shake the old stones! In plan, it strongly marks the end of the nave, the beginning of the library and the peaceful coexistence of the two destinations.
This block built of glass, steel, and zinc sawn stone plates, illustrates by its presence, the contemporary aspect of the whole operation of reusing the walls of the Church. This clear architectural gesture has the presence of the original building. This intervention by contrast emphasizes the new functions and enhances the finesse and strength of the heritage stonework.
Without diminishing the precedence of the century-old volume, the new volume, lower but more incisive in form, energizes and gives a second life to the tradition.
The library is located in the volume of the apse of the old church. Two levels can be accommodated. In the evolution of the library world, the needs are numerous, varied and complex in their assembly.
For this reason, we have reserved the central area of the third level of the old nave volume for the library. This high volume could accommodate missing collections, high shelves and mezzanines if the need is present; it is therefore a vehicle for expansion and adaptability.
In this preliminary design, we have provided for a lower ground level, housing church and library ancillaries. Are these spaces necessary, useful, economically viable? It would be presumptuous to answer that at this point in the project's evolution. If the needs are real, financial profitability may be threatened by construction costs that are deemed excessive at first glance. However, particular solutions, adapted to the economic calculations, are always possible, and specific development axes will be identified. However, at this point in time, too many parameters are beyond our control to give an informed opinion.
The Esplanade - open air auditorium
Sloping green space
In the area of the existing parking lot, above a new parking lot, we are building a sloping green space. The high point will be to the east, the low point will converge to the west, where the glass volume begins.
In its highest and best use, the esplanade will serve as an open-air auditorium, for outdoor concerts, children's theater and/or an outdoor memorial service.
The eastern facade of the soaring volume is developed as a stage frame. In theater language, this frame is the space available for performances. A permanent, interior mineral surface on the ground will serve this purpose. This can be extended outside, occasionally, to accommodate orchestras or other performing arts ensembles.
Other activities may take place in this area. Temporary stalls as an extension of the public market, a trade show, community group activities, all variations on the theme. All will have a framework to unfold and contribute to the animation of the site and the infrastructures to carry them out.
Local commercial activity creates daily activity, generating animation and appropriation of the site.
The type of business that we have favored is related to the food sector (bakery, pastry shop, cheese shop, butcher shop, greengrocer), as it seems to us a valid hypothesis to generate and complete the activities of the other places. However, these premises could be dedicated to other functions, such as a daycare center.
To revitalize and update a site, the contribution of new families: especially young families is an essential vector of development.
(From competitor's text)
(Unofficial automated translation)
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- Conceptual Sketch