Cultural Centre in Venarey

In a small village in Burgundy, next to the railroad, a massive volume seems to float above an almost transparent plinth. It is Dominique Coulon’s project for an Art Centre that is also a tourist office, a conference hall, a day nursery, and areas for older people.

Dominique Coulon & associés, Art and Conference Centre, Inter-Generation Centre and Tourist Office, in Venarey-Les Laumes, France
Dominque Coulon’s project stretches alongside the railway line in the small village of Venarey-Les Laumes, in Burgundy.
The building, designated a centre for rural excellence, contains a number of different initiatives, including a tourist office, a conference and culture hall, a day nursery, and areas for older people. The task was to bring all these very different initiatives together in a single dynamic unit.
Dominique Coulon & associés, Art and Conference Centre, Inter-Generation Centre and Tourist Office, in Venarey-Les Laumes, France
Dominique Coulon & associés, Art and Conference Centre, Inter-Generation Centre and Tourist Office, Venarey-Les Laumes, France

The upper volume seems to float above an almost transparent plinth. Cantilevers accentuate the dissociation of the various folds, each fold producing a face which captures the low-angled light produced by the orientation of the building. The lightly perforated opaque skin is divided into a number of triangles – some are matte while others are shiny –, thereby breaking down the structure of the basic volumes.

The building often has a different appearance at different times of day. The day nursery is located upstairs, while the other initiatives are at ground level. A bright yellow courtyard continues the line of the areas used by the nursery, the purpose being to shield them from the substantial nuisance caused by the goods trains and high-speed passenger trains which pass at speed here. The transparent features of the ground floor are arranged in such a way that the relationship with the railway line is constant, and perceived as a dynamic event.


Art and Conference Centre, Inter-Generation Centre and Tourist Office, Venarey-Les Laumes, France
Program : public building
Architects : Dominique Coulon & associés (Dominique Coulon, Steve Letho Duclos)
Project Team : Guillaume Wittmann, Gautier Duthoit
Construction site supervision : Lionel Debs
Structural Engineer : Batiserf
Electrical Engineer : BET G.Jost
Mechanical Plumbing Engineer : Solares Bauen
Quantity surveyor : E3 économie
Acoustics : Euro sound project
Scenographer : Euro sound project
Cost : 3 600 000€ H.T
Area : 1,646 sqm
Completion : March 2015

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