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14 Jun 2019

Bjarke Ingels-designed MÉCA to open in Bordeaux this month
BY Tom Walker

The building has been wrapped around a rectangular central hollow

The building has been wrapped around a rectangular central hollow
photo: BIG

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-designed Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Nouvelle-Aquitaine (MÉCA) in the French city Bordeaux will open to the public on 28 June.

Located on the city's historic riverfront, the 12,000sq m cultural center will become the new home for three cultural institutions – visual arts organisation FRAC, performing arts centre OARA and literature organisation ECLA.

BIG's design for the institution divides the center in separate – but adjoining – spaces, mixing the contemporary art and performing art elements with a center for literature and movies.

The building has been wrapped around a rectangular central hollow, which will provide a large public square and stage for outdoor exhibitions and events.

The central public space also creates spectacular views by opening towards the city of Bordeaux and the Garonne River.

BIG's design for MÉCA is based on creating a single loop of open promenade, which rises to form the roof of the main exhibition spaces.

The project has been in the pipeline since 2012, when a design team led by BIG won a competition for the design brief. The team also included FREAKS freearchitects, dUCKS scéno, Khephren Ingénierie, VPEAS, ALTO Ingénierie, Vincent Hedont, PBNL, Mryk & Moriceau.

The official opening on 28 June will include tours of the facility, led by Bjarke Ingels and BIG partner Jakob Sand.

"Our design was for a building integrated with the waterfront promenade of Bordeaux, to allow public life to flow through the MÉCA," said Bjarke Ingels.

"The linear organisation gives visitors a glimpse of all activities in the building. Rather than a stringent division between back and front of house, the organisation creates an experience of a house full of activity and people."

• To read an in-depth interview with Bjarke Ingels – and an introduction to the top team at BIG – click here for the BIG Special issue of CLADmag, issue 4 2017.



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