- The opening of the Cavern of Pont-d’Arc – a journey back in time
A journey back in time to about 36,000 years ago, made possible only by the team of scientists and researchers, architects, engineers and stage designers to create the faithful replica of the original cave, discovered in 1994 in Ardéche, a department in the Rhône-Alps region of southern France. Remarkably modern-looking rock art, incredibly valuable prehistoric testimony.
Preserving the discoveries that were declared a World Heritage site last year was the number one priority for the few people who were lucky enough to enter the cave system. But things will be much different from 25 April 2015 with the opening of the Cavern of Pont d'Arc, the replica of the 8500-square-metre original cave condensed into 3000 square metres.
The architectural project by Xavier Fabre/Vincent Speller together with Atelier 3A was designed to respond to the landscape and they worked with a large team of experts including many scientists and researchers as well as stage-designers from Paris-based agency Scène in order to reconstruct the interiors to faithfully reproduce the cave, with all its stalagmites and stalactites, in addition to the actual artwork, recreated by artists and accessible for visits along the walkways.
The whole complex comprises five constructions – the replica cave, the Galerie de l'Aurignacien (the discovery centre that tells the whole story of our ancestors), the educational centre, the events space and the food court have all been built almost flush with the ground. They are within a few minutes’ walking distance from each other so visitors can easily plan their tour.
The architects designed independent but neutral constructions, like an extension of the topography (from the air they look a bit like a giant bear’s footprint), because the contents of these buildings are what count and the idea was not take attention away from those contents and to protect the nature. The initiative is also a redevelopment of the zone with the creation of new jobs: so the past and the territory drive future development!
From 25 April we will all be able to visit the replica of one the biggest prehistoric treasures to reach our times, images that tell the story of mankind, proof once more of the communicative power of images that in this case have stayed unchanged for 36,000 years.
Project: Xavier Fabre/Vincent Speller together with Atelier 3A
Location: Razal, Department of Archéche, France
Photography: Courtesy of Caverne du Pont d'Arc – copyright of authors
Link to site: http://lacavernedupontdarc.org/