The Centre Culturel building is thoughtfully embedded within the composition of BIG’s masterplan and its ‘Rolling Hills’ concept, yet expresses its own strong and recognisable identity within this context. The building’s choice of facade material was inspired by large scale landscape sculptures and installations and benefits from the range of natural tones and colours found in weathered metal.
Three intertwined volumes emerge from the ground, whilst the surrounding landscape continues as a sloping green carpet atop the roof of the building. These rooftop public spaces not only provide outdoor screening areas, restaurants and cafes, but also offer 360 degree views and new vantage points towards the rest of EuropaCity and the skyline of Paris.
The Centre Culturel extends the cinemagoer’s experience beyond the black box and becomes an institution that serves as a cinema, film centre, archive and a catalyst for new artistic production.
The design focuses on the idea of community whereby cinema becomes interactive, social and above all, accessible. Visitors can happily go to a movie, but are also welcome to enjoy the roof top terraces and outdoor projections, the integrated multi-media art displays and the numerous social amenities that the complex has to offer.
In the design proposal the three blocks of the building are organised according to film genre. There are three well-defined clusters housed within each of the three volumes.
The blocks converge in the central space of the building that forms the foyer. From here visitors can access the cinema halls, whilst also catching a glimpse of the movie-making process on the level below, where the training and production studios are located
An essential concern whilst designing the massing of the building was the need to avoid any adverse effect on daylight accessibility for the adjacent hotel. The sloping of the Centre Culturel’s roof was therefore designed to achieve minimum overshadowing of the neighbouring building and thereby ensure that the hotel can enjoy access to full natural daylight throughout the year.
Further influence on the final design of the blocks was based on the output of sun and wind studies. These studies led to the morphing of the carved and tilted volumes, in order to ensure the best possible comfort for the users by maximising the exposure of the sun decks and minimising wind impact through deflection. Perforated weathered steel façade elements are also strategically located along the facades to harness prevailing winds and provide natural ventilation for the indoor spaces.
Furthermore, thermal heat gain is minimised, CO2 emissions are reduced and rainwater is reused, while thick vegetation packages on the park roofs insulate the building against the biggest source of ceiling heat loss and mostly enclosed facades shelter the building from excessive heat gain.