Ministère de la Culture
The aim of this project was to regroup on a single site all the services of the Ministry of Culture, previously dispersed over 17 different locations around the city. Architect Francis Soler resolved the major constraints -disparity in dates and indifferent architectural style of the two existing buildings- into elements of unity and identity. This unity is omnipresent in the internal space planning: the two buildings have been remodelled in their substance to require the obtained density, optimize work spaces and interconnect the different floor levels. The other unifying element is purely architectural. In the manner of Christo, Soler has wrapped the old buildings, walls and roof included, in a continuous organic-weave mesh of steel lace. Without entirely effacing underlying differences, this stainless steel veil imparts continuity to the disparate volumes. It hangs like a loose net detached from the elevations, its appearance changing in phase with the sun, shadows, day and night.