The architects of A+Architecture (Philippe Bonon, Philippe Cervantes, Gilles Gal) designed a monument in Domaine D’O, a green cultural district in the heart of Montpeiller. The complex will contain a theatre and a restaurant set in the Domaine’s luxuriant pine grove: a building of contemporary form inspired by a traditional image, Harlequin’s mask. Considered an exemplary project for its sustainability, the building is made out of 90% recyclable materials, and its structure is made of PEFC (Programme Européen des Forêts Certifiées) certified plywood.
The red façades and decorations on diagonal panels make the new theatre stand out in the Domaine’s pine grove. The theatre wing is located in a prominent position in the complex, while the volume containing the restaurant is set back to provide diners with views of the park.
A few steps and a ramp lead up to the foyer of the theatre. A continuous façade decorated with rhomboids of wood and glass opens the theatre up to dialogue with the square and the pine grove around it. The mezzanine level offers another interesting point of view for admiring the surroundings. In addition to the structure, the cladding and details of the interiors of the annexed restaurant and the 600 seat theatre beyond the foyer are also made of bare plywood: wood offers specific acoustic features, and the natural finish connects with the drama, the stage sets, the stage itself and the backdrop, making the theatre a changeable place that can be transformed to suit the performance to be staged.
By using plywood, the architects created a building made up of prefabricated panels with dry joints that can be entirely dismantled.
The purpose of this and other features of the project is to reduce environmental impact to a minimum, cutting the consumption of an ordinary building by half, according to the architects, and thereby qualifying for the status of low energy building (BBC). All the stage lighting is LED. The building can easily be taken apart to permit rapid, efficient demolition. And to minimise the impact of the construction site on the Domaine d’O, the architects wanted to complete construction within a year; they managed to achieve their goal.
Design: A+Architecture (Philippe Bonon, Philippe Cervantes, Gilles Gal)
Project leader: Tiffanie Renard
Client: Conseil Général de l’Hérault
Location: Montpellier (France)
Team: Spie Sud-Ovest, Darver, Structure bois couverture, Calder, Arteba, Celsius environnement
Total surface area: 2620 m2
Project start date: 2012
Completion of work: 2013
Structure and facades of KLH solid plywood panelling
Wooden and rubber flooring
Photos: ©Marie-Caroline Lucat