Alésia Museum visitor’s centre
by Bernard Tschumi Architects

| 11 comments
 

Slideshow: a visitor’s centre with an ornate herringbone facade by Bernard Tschumi Architects opens this weekend on an archaeological site in central France.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

The cylindrical centre occupies the same position held by the Roman army during a historic battle against the Gauls over 2000 years ago and its wooden exterior references the timber fortifications that would have been constructed nearby.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

A second museum building, contrastingly clad in stone, is also being constructed a kilometre away across the battlefield and the pair will together comprise the Alésia Museum complex.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

Exhibitions inside the visitor’s centre will portray the events of the battle and its aftermath, while the second building will present artefacts unearthed from the site.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

A garden of grass and trees covers the roof of the visitor’s centre and will be accessible to visitors.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

See more stories by Bernard Tschumi Architects here, including a bright red pedestrian bridge.

Photography above is by Christian Richters, while photography below is by Iwan Baan.

Here's some more text from Bernard Tschumi Architects:


Opening Day Set for Alésia Museum, First Phase

Part of a museum complex designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects, a new interpretive center on the site of the historic Battle of Alésia will open in a formal ceremony on March 23, 2012.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

Located in Burgundy, France, the building marks the position of the Roman army, under Julius Caesar, and its encampment surrounding the Gauls under Vercingetorix in 52 B.C. The building will be open to the public starting on March 26th.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

Tschumi’s design features a cylindrical building with an exterior envelope made of wood, a material that references the Roman fortifications of the era, some of which are reconstructed in an area a short walk from the building.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

The roof of the building is planted with low shrubs and trees, so as to minimize the visual impact of the building when seen from the hill above (the historical position of the Gauls).

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

The materiality and sustainable elements of the building are meant to make visitors aware of the surrounding landscape, which appears much as it would have 2000 years ago.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

A second building on the hill will mark the location of the Gauls, and has a similar geometry, but is clad in stone, evoking its trenched position.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

Click above for larger image

The interpretive center will contain exhibits and interactive displays that contextualize the events of the Battle of Alésia and its aftermath.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

Click above for larger image

The displays are intended to reach a broader audience than a museum, with a range of media and programs for all ages.

Alésia Museum Visitor Centre by Bernard Tschumi Architects

The second building will act as a more traditional museum, with a focus on found objects and artifacts unearthed from the site. The second building is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

  • okpala

    hopping from one drum to another, Mr. Tschumi!…

  • esf

    This looked rather wonderful, until you look at the simpleton plan.

    Great Architecture suggests symmetry, then subverts it. The point of change becomes an architectural event, Hierarchy, Circulation etc. In this case, there is no such subversion, therefore no architecture, the building gets no front, no rear, no entrance no circulation, no logic and no importance

    • Colonel Pancake

      Mr. Derrida,

      Are you aware that none of those pretentious sentences really mean anything, and are instead just amalgamations of ambiguous words?

      • bill

        Ok, being anti-theory is fine, but saying that "building gets no front, no rear, no entrance no circulation" are pretentious sentences is just silly. Hierarchy, circulation and how to introduce and orientation into a circular plan to create a front and back are pretty standard architectural concepts.

        • Colonel Pancake

          1) The building has an entrance.
          2) The building has circulation.
          3) The building has hierarchy (circular form and radial, compartmentalized sub-forms)

          Please explain what he means when he says "therefore no architecture" because even if I don't love this building, I recognize it as such and feel okay saying "therefore, architecture."

    • JJK

      Who are you to define great architecture? To ignore symmetry would be to ignore some of the worlds most loved examples of architecture. Confining yourself to certain definitions of what is good will only limit your work. Venturi suggests an architecture of complexity and contradiction, that does not mean it is the only framework for great architecture.

  • qhsj

    both the busy herringbone and pure circular form are typically dangerous moves that tschumi's firm pulls off with surprisingly interesting results here. Though I think those interior shots show that for a decorative element the wood screen is pretty bulky. I wonder if it wouldnt have been even better thinner and denser maybe.

    • GULCH

      It appears subtlety isn't Tschumi's thing-I think that chunky heft works quite well here and at the New Acropolis Museum. I also appreciate it as a counterpoint to the obsession with thinness (SANAA, Ishigami) and dematerialization that I'm typically drawn to.

  • esf

    Mr JJK,

    Good point & RV is very well referenced.
    Who am I? I hope I'm someone who knows architecture is made from Transition, Circulation, Datum etc. not from obsessive details and photographs. As are you I would imagine.
    The plan look a little 1st year to my eye though.

  • Fran

    Transitions, circulations, light, hierachy is to be seen in the section. (architecture 201)
    From my point of view, the heart of the project is the center space but the athmosphere and all the pillars are a bit disappointed

  • samuel

    At first i thought this was the Michellin's headquarters..