Bordeaux in progress
Wednesday 30 March 2016

In the framework of our next Rendez-vous in Bordeaux, LIKE gives you a preview of some big cultural and territorial projects promoted by the local authorities that will welcome us: the Aquitaine Limousin Poitou-Charentes Region, the Gironde County and the Municipality of Bordeaux.

MéCA – House of Creative Economy and Culture in Aquitaine

More than a house, it truly is a monument that Region of Aquitaine (that was renamed Aquitaine Limousin Poitou-Charentes in January 2016 with the French reform of territorial administrative organisation) dedicated to culture, nightlife and spatial re-conquest of its formerly abandonned neighbourhoods in Bordeaux.

When released, MéCA will re-group the FRAC (Regional Funds for Contemporary Art), and the ECLA (Writing, Cinema, Book, Audiovisual) and the OARA (Artistic Office of the Region of Aquitaine) agencies inside its « living » house which soon will serve as a velvet box for collections and future artistic creations of the region's artists.

Re-grouping the three agencies, which are the main institutional actors in the fields of creation and creative and digital industries of the region, aims to encourage synergetic actions and the development of a unique, as well as transversal, regional cultural policy-making.

Because the Region of Aquitaine Limousin Poitou-Charentes rightly understood : today's culture has less and less to do with museums, and other strong forts of art. Conversely, MéCA wants to transpire art through all its pores to make it diffuse to the surrounding neighbourhoods of the old slaughterhouses and Saint-Jean (which are currently being restructured), to the city of Bordeaux and its « Bordeaux Euratlantique » project, to the department of Gironde and the region itself.

To be noted : its « Grand Foyer » that is conceived as a forum at the crossroads between the three institutions, that the waves of expected visitors will also be spanning. Its public auditorium, at the heart of this reception area, will be the privileged space for artistic representations in the MéCA, so that creation is again at the core of this living house's mission.

Definitely a monument dedicated to art and creation ; but more importantly maybe, an aerial monument, that will be traversed by each and everyone. Its echo should resonate on the space of the regional territory, as well as the daily lives of its neighbours. During our Rendez-Vous de Bordeaux, we will be honoured to see the building model and to have the overall project explained by M. Frédéric Vilcocq himself, Special Adviser to the President of the Region and MéCA project manager.

- Opening – 2017
- Architects – BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhaguen - Denmark) and FREAKS (Paris - France)
- Budget – 52 000 000€ in total, 27 840 000€ for the concrete works
- Financers – Region Aquitaine (92,3%), Ministry of Culture and Communication (7,7%)

Salle des Fêtes, Grand Parc

In the 1960s, France needed to put a roof over a growing population : everywhere in the country social housing blossomed. Large urban estates marked urban landscapes with their massive print, such as in the Grand-Parc neighbourhood in the North of Bordeaux. In 1968, this entity of bars and towers was welcoming 13 000 souls dispatched around a 10 ha green area. In 2016 however, issues in the neighbourhood have evolved : the population in this small city at the heat of Bordeaux is decreasing. What used to be numerous and good-quality facilities at the time of Grand-Parc's construction have aged – the colours of their facades have faded. The community hall Grand-Parc, once a temple of rock'n'roll in Bordeaux but closed in the early 1990s, is an example of these evolutions.

Convergence of dynamics is important when dealing with this community hall in Grand-Parc. In fact, there had already been many studies on the topic of how to give life again to this place of culture, music and conviviality; however, no realisation had ever been undertaken. 2011
Evento Biennale directed by artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, changed things a little bit: indeed, the theme of the event, “art for urban re-evolution” echoed in a particular manner in the neighbourhood of Grand-Parc. Inhabitants did not want to be left apart from this ambitious event, which they came to see as an opportunity to raise awareness on their own combat for re-opening the community hall.

he inhabitants soon united in a collective. Local consultations were carried out on the topic of the fate of the building that was originally designed by architects Claude Ferret, Robert Bedout and Serge Bottarelli between 1964 and 1967. Before its construction, the architects had already bet on the modularity of uses of the community hall, and this philosophy traveled up all its way to contemporary inhabitants who expressed, when consulted, their need for a variety of possible uses of the community hall: culture, sports, community life… This momentum was adopted and nurtured by Alain Juppé, Mayor of the City of Bordeaux: indeed, re-opening the community hall fit well in the larger project for re-qualifying and opening up the Grand-Parc neighbourhood to the rest of the city. In 2012, the City of Bordeaux therefore made a call for architectural projects with a conditions such as the creation of a catering area (that would open to the outside), that of an informational space and different spaces for cultural, artistic and social activities.

The happy winner of the contest, Bordeaux' Christophe Hutin Architecture cabinet, presented a project which:

  • respects the original architecture of the community hall with maintaining the stage, bleachers and the mosaic façade;
  • offers both a day and night use of the spaces with notable destruction of the façade at the back of the stage to be replaced with a large bay window (that can be obscured with mobile algaflex walls);
  • enriches the venue with a capacity of 1,200 spectators (seated on the bleachers, standing up in the pool), or 650 (seated);
  • creates a restaurant on the northern face of the building, open to the outside green areas (possible creation of a green terrace);
  • leaves space to a catering area, enabling the organisation of private events (family parties…);
  • creates an exhibition area;
  • creates a movable kiosk in the main hall;
  • creates an independent access to a community/associational room;
  • includes technical and stocking rooms;
  • creates equiped dressing rooms and backstage;
  • includes administrative offices;
  • enables the use of technical spaces for organising festive and cultural events on the esplanade.

s with the community hall's neighbours should therefore lead to the co-construction of a community hall, shaped as a cultural stage as well as a house for the community's associations. It will serve as a second lung for the Grand-Parc neighbourhood, at the sides of the swimming pool that was inaugurated in 2007. The 4 million-euro project should be delivered in 2018 and contribute to the re-dynamisation of this neighbourhood that was left out of public action until recently.

Culture and arts at the service of territories?
More importantly maybe: culture and arts at the service of inhabitants' engagement in favour of their territory. In this perspective, Grand-Parc and the impetus for its community hall materialise Pistoletto's vision:
Art is the most sensible and synthetic expression of thought: time has come for artists to hold on to their responsibility and create link between human activities, from economics to politics, from science to religion, from education to behaviour, in sum all the territories of social fabric.” (M. Pistoletto, Manifesto Progretto Arte)