Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes

Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes

Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes - Exterior Photography, Windows

Text description provided by the architects. With the creation of a new cultural center, Lemoal Lemoal has breathed new life into a former middle school in Mortagne-au-Perche, France. This center now houses a music school, an orchestra, local associations, and a sports facility. The town of Mortagne-au-Perche possesses a rich architectural heritage, which it is striving to rejuvenate through the restoration and transformation of its built environment and thereby enhance the area’s attractiveness. The project for a Memory Center is part of this undertaking. The town chose the mothballed middle school to serve as a cultural center located in the heart of the village. Under the framework of this project, this 20th-century building had to be renovated and brought up to compliance standards. The main architectural intentions relied upon the conservation of the existing building, and a more thorough interior reorganization.

Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes - Interior Photography, Bedroom

The project aimed to renovate the aesthetic of the façades and allow for improvements in the building’s thermal qualities. The ornamental aspect of the façades remains unchanged. Window frames are composed of glazed brick that has been cleaned and repaired to maintain the building’s identity. Pre-existing carpentry has been replaced and adapted as needed, namely to enable more light to penetrate the lobby. The Parc Régional du Perche, of which the town of Mortagne-au-Perche is a part, benefits from precise documentation of its “percheronne” architectural heritage. The colorimetry of the building façades is justified by the traditional use of “Perche sand”, a product of local geology. Thus, the more pronounced pre-existing render was replaced by a lighter hue to brighten the building’s appearance, and to give it a colorimetry in harmony with surrounding buildings. The building’s thermal renovation was achieved by over-insulating the better-performing interior on all the peripheral walls, and to the right of the floorboards of the top level, as well as a total technical overhaul including the heating and air conditioning systems.

Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes - Interior Photography, Windows
Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes - Interior Photography, Windows, Glass

The building is comprised of two floors organized around two central courtyards, forming an “L-shaped layout”. The two wings are joined by the entrance to the former middle school, to which corridors ensuring access to each classroom are attached. The pre-existing configuration served as the basis for the new distribution of the building’s two wings. The open composition of the plan, supported by a simplified concrete post and beam structure, made it possible to trace the current organization and adapt it to the new layout of classrooms. This organization was chosen to minimize the risk of sound penetrating from one class into another.

Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes - Interior Photography, Windows

The decision was made to attempt to remove the successive layers of different wall coatings, in order to reveal the nature of the very first structural components. Thus, the concrete posts and beams were restored to their initial materiality. Other elements present in the building were kept and enhanced, like certain cement tiles and the troughs of water fountains that were cleaned and repositioned in the new corridors, as a mark of the times and the building’s past. The creation of a music school requires important analyses of the volumetry of each room (m3) in order to avoid any negative impact on the acoustical quality of the rooms that have been created: installation of a suspended ceiling, laying of an underlying acoustical treatment and thickening of the partitioning walls (up to a 20-cm thickness), reinforced in certain places with a wall treatment.

Mortagne Cultural Center / Lemoal Lemoal Architectes - Interior Photography, Windows, Table

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