Kengo Kuma designs a contemporary entrance for Angers Cathedral

The project developed by Kengo Kuma and Associates will protect the cathedral's carved portal and its statues, a function of an earlier entrance module that was demolished in the 19th century.

Angers Cathedral, in northwest France, was built in the Angevin gothic style in the 12th to 13th centuries on the base of an earlier Romanesque cathedral. An entrance canopy built in the first third of the 13th century originally protected the multicolored sculptures of the doorway, but it was demolished in 1807 and was considered too complex to recreate it. “After several historical and archaeological studies, the data collected were not considered sufficient to consider an identical reconstruction of the old gallery,” the French Ministry of Culture said. For this reason, a competition won by the Japanese firm Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA) was held.

The addition of KKAA consists of a stone rectangle with five archivolts: an open gallery through which visitors will partially see the original entrance portal. The aim was to create a harmonious dialogue between Middle Age architecture and the contemporary. “We wanted to put ourselves in the shoes of the builders of the Middle Ages and to create a regulatory framework, using compasses, thus generating the proportions which lead to unity,” the studio said.

The construction works are projected to be completed within the year.

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