Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Maison Folie by Nox

The Maison Folie in Lille is a cultural centre and arts complex on the site of an old textile factory. The project included the renovation of the existing industrial buildings and a new performance space - the 'Salle de Spectacle'. Lille was once famous for its textile industry and is where many of the Hugeunot silk weavers who settled in Spitalfields would have learnt their trade. French textile fashions hugely influenced the British style and French fabrics were incredibly popular until new trade laws limited imports. The Maison Folie complex consisted of several buildings ranging in scale, Nox architects worked with this layout to create a city style landscape 'a city within a city'. The programme required flexibility for all the different functions and changing exhibitions. The landscape aimed to link all of these functions and create a space for interaction. Nox wanted to create a lasting image of the site and would also link the old to the new, they created a street facade with a 'luminous skin' which appears to shimmer during the day and night.

External Images showing the range of buildings and the new facade linking the old and new.

Plan showing the new landscape scheme.

The internal design for the foyer continues the external forms. The influence of the buildings past as a textile factory is evident in the fluid shapes and spaces created.

New elevation during the day. The facade is made up of bent vertical lines in a complex pattern which animate the building as the sun moves through the sky and as you move past.

New elevation at night. At night it appears to glow and seems almost holographic.

Nox's work is very reliant on computers to aid the design process, this is clear in the complex forms created in their schemes. I think the Maison Folie project is successful, I prefer it to some of their other schemes because the use to the complex fluid forms is limited to one facade and the original buildings have been treated respectfully. The facade does succeed in linking the old and the new and is a very different approach to those I have looked at so far. The new 'skin' appears to float in front of the old building, it does not detract from the architecture of the industrial warehouses but adds to the landscape of the area.

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