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Scales of Interaction - A Community Hall for Villeurbanne

Part 1 Project 2012
Catherine Mollett
Cardiff University Cardiff UK

Villeurbanne is proudly a town of its own, a political stronghold for the left and an area of multicultural and industrial heritage. This project looks at the way events are used as a catalyst for interaction between the many ethnic groups through a rich diary of cultural festivals. It acts as a central meeting point, a stage from which Villeurbanne can express its unique cultural outlook.

The project began by exploring three ‘scales of interaction’ that might occur on the site; the ‘ceremonial’, where the whole square would become animated; the ‘institutional’, where the community hall served its day to day functions and the ‘furniture’, that would allow for intimate interaction.

Physically, the hall acts as a fragment on the square, breaking the grid of the area to face the high rise blocks and bustling market whilst protecting a community garden serving the predominantly residential South West. The front becomes the public face of Villeurbanne, its visibility from all entrances emphasising its importance.

Inspired by the transformative nature of the square and particularly the market stall umbrellas, the main hall is a tensile space able to enclose the space for more intimate events and unfurl revealing the stage to a wider audience. In this way the building invites the community to watch, enticing residents to their¬ balcony windows which become informal gallery seats for the performance, breaking their insularity.

Smaller rehearsal space, kitchens, a foyer and restaurant sit within the base of the stage, a solid concrete space wrapped and punctured to add definition whilst retaining an honesty and simplicity to the structure. The detailing is also quite reserved; allowing the building to dress for the event rather than dictate a style.

The furniture scale sits within th¬e market ¬grid, an already established meeting place for the community, providing service access and small scale meeting places. More of the senses are in action at this scale and the steel wrapped pods are purposely placed to disrupt direct lines of movement, encouraging interaction with their faceted reflective facades. During large scale events the reflective pods add to the overall visual spectacle.

Catherine Mollett

Tutor(s)

2012
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