Quinconces Cultural Centre

Espace culturel des Quinconces: theatre, multiplex, exhibition hall, city hall, parking for the city of Le Mans, France
The Quinconce s cultural complex stands as an interface between the Quinconce s parc that is the venue every year for several flagship events and Place des Jacobins which is the site of a very busy outdoor market. Located below the apse of Saint-Julien Cathedral, it stands across from the law courts, a group of buildings with ground-floor businesses and the the city hall.

A SOCIAL AND URBAN CONDENSER In this rich location of architectural heritage, the new building asserts its modernity without being overly monumental. Incorporated into the geometrics of the city center and the existing dimensions, it presents two spare, well-defined volumes under a single roof which is defined horizontality like a sharp knife. The municipal theater, a blue-ribbon building if ever there was one, stands on the right, encased in a vertically striated glass curtain. On the left, clad in white stone, stands the visible part of the cinema. A little withdrawn, the multiplex is fronted by a stone plaza looking towards the cathedral, which is framed perpendicularly between the two facilities. This new and very busy public space gives onto a wide wooden terrace that hovers above the Esplanade des Quinconces on a level with the foliage of the linden trees.

A SOPHISTICATED TOOL SERVING AN AMBITIOUS POLICY One enters the theater s foyer directly from the plaza, then climbs a floor to the vast hall that enjoys an exceptional, unhindered view of the Place des Jacobins and the cathedral. The theater itself is covered by a lathing of light-colored wood on the outside and lined on the inside by darker over-lapping wood. It is scalable and contains a balcony and can seat 830 people in excellent viewing and listening conditions. It is multi-purpose and can be used for plays, dance performances, lyrical art and opera. The dressing rooms are located behind the stage on several levels while under the plaza are located a performers foyer that opens onto a landscaped patio. A rehearsal room is opposite under the terrace overlooking the Esplanade des Quinconces. It can be opened to the public as well as stage performances. An exhibition gallery and meeting room are also included in the same volume, the latter of which opens onto a second tree-lined patio. These three spaces open onto the Esplanade des Quinconces through big pivoting shutters.
Opposite the municipal theater is a complex housing 11 movie theaters. From afar it looks like an opaque block levitating three meters over the ground. The entrance is on the plaza where there is also an entirely glassed-in café-restaurant. Audiences go down to the ticket windows and movie theaters on the lower level. Three of them are hanging; the eight others are underground and connected by an inner corridor. In many ways the new architectural and urban complex – l Espace Culturel des Quinconces – Is as intricate in its functions as it is limpid in its expression. It is a precision tool serving an ambitious cultural policy.

Due to the large mixed-use programs, this project is participating of of the re-appropriation of the city center in opposition to urban sprawl and encourages the use of public transportation.
The structure conception with large steel spans anticipates a possible re-adaptation of the building to accomodate the technical evolution of cinema
The central heating is supplied by a municipal network fueled by domestic waste combustion.
site : 6400 m²
building :29 198 m²