This island is nestled in a meander of the Seine, in the Boulogne - Billancourt neighbourhood, just south of the famous Bois de Boulogne park. From 1929 to 1989 it was home to a Renault factory which manufactured cars and employed 30,000 workers. In 1992 the factory shut down its manufacturing centres and all buildings were dismantled between 2004 and 2005. After a dark period, the island became the project area of Jean Nouvel, followed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines for the creation of this fortress of music.
The motto of this new hub is: “La vie sans musique est un desert” (life without music is but a desert), and this is certainly not the case here. The area is now home to an enormous 36,000 sqm complex, a Grande Salle with 4000-6000 places, a classical music auditorium with 1150 places, a rehearsal and recording room, a school, shops, restaurants and a park.
The Auditorium is clearly visible from the banks of the Seine, with its glass, ellipsoidal volume leaning on a long concrete structure containing the musical hub's facilities.
The oval volume, constituting the heart of the entire project, features a hexagonal reticular structure in plywood, wrapped in a steel and glass casing which follows the structure's design. The body's perfect geometry is broken only by a rib vault which protects the auditorium from direct sunlight, entirely covered in photovoltaic panels. This structure moves constantly, following the sun's path to enable optimal energy production. With reference to interiors, the auditorium has been designed to host symphonic or contemporary orchestras, with excellent acoustics, designed with instrumental precision. The hall is in 'vineyard' style, with seating surrounding the stage, rising up in serried rows in the manner of the sloping terraces of a vineyard. Suitable for all kinds of events, last April it was inaugurated by Bob Dylan.
SBA Office in Charge: SBAE + Jean de Gastines Architectes
Location: Seguin Island in Boulogne-Billancourt (Suburb of Paris), France
Site Area: 23000 sqm
Building Area: 16000 sqm
SBA Project Team / Project Architect: Philippe Monteil / Nicolas Grosmond / Geoffroy Boucher / Alessandro Boldrini / Masashi Maruyama / Sara Lazzarin / Amélie Fritzlar / Alexis de Dumast / Mathieu Chapus / Patrick Allan
Interior supplier: mosaic tiles by Bisazza, seats on design
Photo Credits: Didier Boy de la Tour