A stock exchange that becomes a museum of contemporary art. A national scene that finally finds its setting. Student housing installed on a car park… For seven episodes, the “Interesting Archi” podcast takes the listener on the ground to discover buildings in France and abroad. Whether historic, ultramodern, functional or majestic, they all have one thing in common: they have caught the eye of journalists and architects Richard Scoffier, Sophie Trelcat, Philippe Trétiack, Isabelle Regnier and Francis Rambert. They talk about it and debate it during the Critical Meetings organized by the City of Architecture and Heritage, also a partner of this podcast. From July 15, find a new episode of “Interesting Archi” every Friday on Lemonde.fr and podcast platforms.
Friday, July 15: the Paris Bourse, from the wheat market to the museum of contemporary art
For this episode, go to 1er district of Paris. At the heart of Les Halles, a huge dome looms on the horizon. That of thea Commodity Exchange. A former corn exchange then building of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris, the building became, in 2021, after five years of construction, a museum of contemporary art. And not just any. The new museum of the Pinault collection in France. The culmination of a life and one of the symbols of the metamorphosis of the district, a stone’s throw from the Louvre Museum and the Center Pompidou. With its metal and glass dome dating from 1812 and its circular shape, the building has, on the one hand, preserved traces of the past, on the other, it has been modernized thanks to the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. A renovation that had two objectives: to respect the original construction and to allow it to fulfill its new functions. An old wheat market can it really be converted into a museum? Answers in this episode.
Friday July 22: the Boijmans Van Beuningen Depot Museum in Rotterdam, unlimited access to the preserved works
For this episode, direction Rotterdam at Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum. To understand this building, you have to understand its history. This museum is the oldest in the city. It brings together the art collection of the lawyer Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans – bequeathed in 1849 – and that of the businessman, Daniel George van Beuningen. Works that run from the Middle Ages to the XXIe century. In total, more than 150,000 pieces – paintings, drawings, statues, porcelain or photos –! Too many for a single museum! Result: only 10% are exposed. So, from 2005 and after reflection, it was decided to build a new building, in the gardens of the museum, right in the city centre. Its mission: to open the doors of the stocks to visitors and allow them to discover almost all of the works. A project entrusted to the Rotterdam firm MVRDV. Is the museum and architectural experience promised in Rotterdam a success? Answers in this episode.
Friday July 29: the Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand, a national stage open to the outside world
For this episode, direction Clermont-Ferrand. For years, the one we call the City of Tires was the last city with a national scene… without a dedicated and suitable place. Spectators sailed from room to room to discover the shows that were being played. Until the Comedy of Clermont saw the light of day, twenty-two years after its creation… in a former bus station. This station was built in the 1960s by a certain Valentin Vigneron – a pupil of Auguste Perret, the reinforced concrete specialist. And in 2021, it changed to become a cultural place signed by the Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, a transplant artist. Between conservation of the heritage and desire to adapt, the place now has two performance halls, a rehearsal studio, mediation rooms, a brasserie and administrative offices… In short, 9,300 m2 devoted to live performance. The national scene of Clermont-Ferrand has she finally found her case? Answers in this episode.
Friday August 5: the Albert-Kahn Museum in Boulogne-Billancourt, a timeless dive between art and nature
In Boulogne-Billancourt, in the southwest of Paris, it goes almost unnoticed from the street. the Albert-Kahn Departmental Museum is nestled in lush greenery, conducive to escape and poetry. To restore the eight pavilions that made up the place and build a real flagship, the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma imagined the place in successive stages, using mainly wood. He installed exterior passageways, shutters and trellises to give relief to the facades and a main structure in the shape of origami. An architecture that ultimately favors the porosity between interior and exterior to discover the highlight of the show: the garden, an integral part of the museum. Was this arrangement wise? for a museum ? Answers in this episode.
Friday August 12: “Le Porte-Vue” in Château-Thébaud, a trip above the vineyards
For this episode, head to Château-Thébaud in Loire-Atlantique, in the land of Muscadet. On either side of a river called the Maine rise the slopes of this dry white wine which is developing today to move upmarket. To discover this wine landscape, you have to take a little height and climb on a belvedere which dominates the valley. This belvedere, it is a corten steel structure that unfolds over 30 meters, twenty of which are above the void. A technical and architectural feat that blends into the landscape. This installation was imagined in 2016 as part of the “Journey in the vineyard”, an artistic journey proposed on the model of the “Journey to Nantes”. It is the work of Emmanuel Ritz. This architect chose to call it The View Holder, because it offers those who engage in it an exceptional panorama and as he hoped, it magnifies nature through architecture. So, is the bet successful? Answers in this episode.
Friday August 19: the Saclay student residence, accommodation placed in a parking lot
For this episode, direction Essonne, in the south-west of Paris, to interest us in the realization of a student residence. A university residence placed on a parking lot in the district of the Polytechnic School of Saclay. This program was scary. However, it inspired the Bruther agency (and their Belgian associates Baukunst) with a flexible architecture, capable of accompanying changes in usage. If cars were to disappear, the parking lot on the ground floor could be transformed into accommodation to accommodate new students. With a U-shaped structure, a garden, color on the floors and a vast meeting space, this curved building recalls the spirit of Le Corbusier or Oscar Niemeyer. Is the Saclay student residence the symbol of tomorrow’s reversible architecture? Element of answers in this episode.
Friday August 26: the new headquarters of the National Forestry Office, offices in harmony with nature
For this episode, direction Maisons-Alfort, in the south-east of Paris, to take an interest in business premises. Said like that, it’s not very sexy. But it is interesting to find out what the ones that are emerging from the ground look like now. And here is the headquarters of the National Forestry Office – installed on the site of the National Veterinary School of Alfort – which caught our attention. Its particularity: a wooden structure – yes, we are not at the ONF for nothing – coming mainly from the state forests managed by the office. And the 7,600 m building2 – designed by Vincent Lavergne Architecture Urbanisme and Atelier WOA – wants to be ecological and design to accommodate its 365 agents. Is it a traditional office building or are we dealing with the architecture of tomorrow? Answers in this podcast.
“Interesting Archi”, a podcast produced and directed by Joséfa Lopez for The world, produced in partnership with the City of Architecture and Heritage. Report: Judith Chrétrit, Marion Dubreuil. Voice-over: Isabelle Regnier. Directed by: Eyeshot. Graphic Identity: Mélina Zerbib. Partnership: Sonia Jouneau, Victoire Bounine.