Office / Architect
Dominique Coulon architecte / Dominique Coulon
www.coulon-architecte.fr
COLLABORADORS
E3 ECONOMIE , Agence Bertrand MEURICE , ESP , BET JOST , Sarah BREBBIA, Philippe CLEMENT (BATISERF), Arnaud ELOUDYI, Steve LETHO DUCLOS, Olivier NICOLLAS, Jean Paul CHABERT Theater engineering
CITYCOUNTRY
Montreuil / France
Programme
Cultural
Placement
Nominee
EDITION
2009
In Montreuil, located northeast of the urban center of Paris, a master plan has in recent years been
realized for the regeneration of the urban center by Alvaro Siza. The project, with the theater at its heart,
shows the hill of the site : the buildings like the fingers of a hand reveal the slope and increase the
perspectives.
The theater has no front nor back. In response to the two diagonal areas adjoining the building, the
auditorium pivots by 15 degrees, rises up and opens simultaneously onto the two public areas without
installing a hierarchy. This rotation also resolves the problem of the town hall, the façade of which is not
exactly in line with the plot – a lateral projection out of the main volume makes up for the difference,
firmly positioned opposite the entrance to the monumental 1935 building.

When you walk around, the building is mysterious because of its scales variations : sometimes intimate,
sometimes monumental. It looks like a sculpture.
The facades are made with white concrete, made on the construction site. This white cement contains
photocatalytic particles that allow it to oxidize the organic and inorganic air pollutants in the presence of
air and light. This photocatalytic action gives to the construction a perpetual esthetic and more luminous
surfaces.

Inside, the space is compressed but elusive. It seems to be generous because of the views. The volumes
of the staircase, the entrance hall and the rehearsal area, which wrap around the auditorium, are
oversized so that they are not crushed by the mass of the stage and backstage area. The result is, on the
outside, an ensemble with perfect proportions and, on the inside, staggering empty spaces that can be
freely restructured or even sculpted. In response to the fist-shaped mass that asserts its rule over the
shapes present on the site, there is, as soon as the threshold has been crossed, a chain of sequences
declining the figures of tightening and stretching.
This complexity is emphasized by color, by its presence that becomes mass, or by contrast from its
absence that becomes light. The color of the path that leads to the auditorium goes from red to black
with all the nuances possible including stairways and corridor. The colors of the wood floor (Padouk and
wenge) change too when the visitor approachs the auditorium. The continuing movement sequences
bring the spectator to other space. Slowly, it makes people ready to enter, make silence and see the
show.

West elevation (entrance) ©jean-marie monthiers
From the main staircase ©jean-marie monthiers
The corridor leading to the bar ©jean-marie monthiers
Small foyer ©jean-marie monthiers
The bar ©jean-marie monthiers
The hall ©jean-marie monthiers
axonometrie site
diagrams