The project of the Résidence d'artistes d'Est-Nord-Est is the expression of a blank canvas giving free rein to the imagination and creativity of the occupants. The building is presented as a canvas offering potential for transformation and appropriation as the artists in residence pass through. A collection of flexible spaces and sub-spaces compose a simple framework; a defined frame within which mobile and removable elements slip in and out, allowing for unrestrained explosion and experimentation. The spatial dimensions, the formal work of the ceilings and the openings on the landscape generate places with unique qualities and atmospheres. They create opportunities for intensity and contemplation. The main strength of the project lies in the duality between a regional architecture sensitive to the local reality, and a resolutely contemporary architecture.
The project is treated as a large house. It is important that the users can appropriate it and feel comfortable to create. The architecture, at the formal level, proposes a monolithic volume with two slopes whose signature is a reinterpretation of the architectural typologies of the sector. The implementation of the project is detached from the Pierre Bourgeault studio and dialogues with it through a setback on the front facade. The one-story volume offers a generous verticality inhabited by mezzanine functions. The project opens onto a planted courtyard that pierces the building and energizes its form. Inspired by the architectural theorist Christian Norberg-Schulz, we imagined the project as the discovery of a sequence of spaces and moments:
arrival, encounter, meeting, and retreat/isolation.
On approach, a subtraction in the front façade protects the covered entrance. The latter is signaled by a natural white cedar wall, worked in three dimensions with contemporary tectonics reinterpreting the sculptural heritage of the region. The main façade is sober and does not reveal everything. The entrance subtly opens onto the interior public space whose aerial spatiality offers a rich and contemplative experiential atmosphere. The articulated ceiling translates the simple and rigorous structural framework. The punctual openings in the roof orchestrate a luminous choreography on the concrete surface of the floor. Under the canopy of skylights, an open plan extends, free of all constraints and offering maximum flexibility to optimize the appropriation by the user.
The kitchen and its mobile island join the multifunctional spaces to create a functional and generous meeting area. The central fireplace provides opportunities for sharing and gives the public functions a comforting conviviality with a domestic scale. Temporary works of art are anchored to the ceiling on structural rings aligned with the grid and take advantage of the great spatial verticality. The project opens onto a landscape sample, a protected interior courtyard. Facing southwest, this garden offers a comfortable, sensitive microclimate sheltered from the wind. It becomes an extension of the living spaces, providing a place for members to share. It features flowering trees that change with the seasons, a fire pit to warm up the summer evenings and furniture to enjoy outdoor meals. The generous floor-to-ceiling windows reinforce the effect of extending the space to the outside. Rainwater from the roofs flows into a gargoyle that irrigates the garden. A circuit of basins connected by gravity feeds the plants with water naturally. The opaque facade overlooking the courtyard allows for displays and projections in the evening.
The place adapts, modulates and stretches to the rhythm of the varieties of occupants and events by a set of pivoting panels in robust wood. These panels allow the conference room to be isolated or included in the open area as needed. On the mezzanine level of the administrative area, the documentation center and the open-plan offices benefit from an intimate, recessed space. This elevated space invites contemplation and offers a new perspective on the multipurpose space. The spiral staircase is an invitation to climb and contributes to the enrichment of the architectural space. A large window allows a glimpse of the river.
The common assembly workshop extends onto the green courtyard. This central workspace is intended to be both unifying and functional. It allows the artists to meet slightly away from the public area. This studio benefits from an additional storage area on the technical walkway in the attic. The technician's office, in the heart of the building and annexed to the common assembly workshop, benefits from a view of the quiet courtyard and the wood workshop to ensure the safety of users. A recessed space houses the technical functions and organizes a smooth transition between the more public areas and the workshops. Attached to the landing is a protected area for bicycle storage.
The airy circulations allow for easy transport of materials between the workshops. The wood and metal workshops benefit from large overhead windows freeing up the bottom of the walls for worktables. Natural light from the northeast limits the need for artificial lighting, without the risk of glare for the user. The rectangular proportions of the specialized workshops favor the installation of tools at the periphery of the premises. In addition, the airspace sculpted by the slopes of the ceiling structure gives an effect of grandeur and improves the user's work experience.
Retreat / Isolation
Individual studios, removed from the common areas, encourage introversion and the creative process. The spirit of a free-form canvas is reflected in the scale of the studio with a simple floor plan crowned by a light-diffusing canopy and a mezzanine that houses the studio. The studio opens to the south onto a large gallery, a threshold between public and private that extends the space and encourages informal meetings. The studios, in height, invite the artist to meditation and isolation. The large skylight in the northeast of each studio sweeps the ceiling with indirect light and provides natural ventilation through the chimney effect. The Russian plywood wall surfaces and the ceiling punctuated with structural rings allow the anchoring and use of all surfaces for work. Finally, some of the workshops are paired with a set of pivoting movable panels to vary the environment according to the needs of the occupants; one thinks of a space for collectives. Between the specialized and individual workshops, a buffer space allows the passage of mechanical ducts and acoustic insulation on both sides. The impact noise insulation and the uncoupling of the zones ensure the comfort of the users.
Retirement and isolation represent the final step in a place that can be crossed. "Only when one is alone in one's home, when one has crossed a private threshold, is one truly at home, a home in which individual identity finds confirmation and security." It is particularly in this part of the artists' residence that the individual will be able, through introversion, to let inspiration come...
In conclusion, the project is distinguished by the composition of diversified convivial spaces oriented on the occupant's experience. The programmatic organization ensures a spatial hierarchy that regulates interpersonal relations. The architecture combines adaptability and durability to offer a pleasant, friendly and functional workplace. The spirit of the project is translated into a series of simple and inventive solutions that maximize the versatility and flexibility of the spaces. The building advocates openness and versatility of both spaces and furniture, thus limiting the segmentation of these functions into closed spaces. The architecture of the building, like a canvas that is appropriated by its surfaces and spaces, is intended to be a place conducive to experimentation and the development of the artist. The architectural quality reinforces the sense of belonging and respect of the user, the pride of the local community and allows the establishment to shine outside the region.
(Unofficial automated translation)
2.1.1- The proposal of an interior courtyard ml-protected and oriented to the southwest will ensure optimal sunlight while allowing a laced exterior development to be controlled, since independent and distant from neighboring buildings.
2.1.2- The architectural path proposed by the integration of an interior courtyard avoids the creation of a long corridor despite the linear configuration of the site.
2.1.3- The proposal allows for the creation of a warm environment bathed in warm light that encourages meetings and exchanges.
2.1.4- The location of the public spaces at the entrance of the building ensures a conviviality and sends a message of openness towards the community. However, this openness is not very concrete since the proposed treatment of the façade is relatively opaque.
2.1.5- The absence of a roof overhang risks causing premature wear of the bowl cladding.
2.1.6- The proposed layout of the individual workshops with a mezzanine studio enhances the spatial experience of this space while limiting the area used.
2.1.7- The distance of the kitchen and common room from the studios does not optimally ensure a private living space for the residents, especially since the two common rooms requested at the PFT have been combined into one at the front.
2.1.8- Access to the full bathroom for residents should be through an access corridor shared with the common workshops, which is a non-private and soiled route.
2.1.9- The distribution of the workshops does not optimally promote the movement of materials from the landing.
2.1.10- The hoped-for innovation aspect is not very present.
(From jury report)
(Unofficial automated translation)
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