Revitalizing Cultural Amenities: Le Point du Jour Art Center
Le Point du Jour art center, a photography-focused establishment, stands as a remarkable example of creating cultural amenities without relying on financial resources. It embodies an architectural vision of a future Europe that has shed its economic dominance in favor of a newfound simplicity and significance. Representing a primitive hut for the 21st century, this innovative building seeks to integrate with its surroundings while also revitalizing them through its presence.
In order to fulfill its purpose, the art center is constructed using concrete with outer insulation, enveloped in a humble and inexpensive material typically reserved for unseen flat roofs: sheets of asphalt protected by a thin layer of aluminum. Through this choice of materials, the building establishes a direct connection with the neighboring structures, including a Mac Donald’s restaurant and other commercial buildings commonly found along roadsides. These edifices, much like the art center, are built using impermanent materials. This deliberate materiality allows the art center to seamlessly blend into its outskirts, while its shiny exterior reflects the ever-changing colors of the nearby coastal city. The result is an abstract yet tangible presence that captivates the viewer.
Internally, the art center is comprised of rooms that are divided without the need for corridors. Raw materials are employed throughout the space, devoid of any alterations or transformations. Tar is used on the ground floor, highlighting the center's commitment to providing free exhibitions as a public facility. This choice of flooring aligns the art center with the pavement outside, emphasizing its accessibility and openness. Plywood and concrete further contribute to the unadorned aesthetic. The avoidance of plasterboard, a material often associated with subpar craftsmanship, allows for a focus on beautiful, simple, and sturdy detailing.
Viewed from the road, the building appears akin to a small warehouse, while from the art school garden where it is situated, it takes on the appearance of a grand house. This architectural duality enables the art center to engage with different contexts using a singular and cohesive form.
The main materials employed, such as the waterproof facade and tar-coated ground floor, are deliberately decontextualized to offer a fresh perspective and evoke a sense of familiarity. It is akin to a photographer capturing an image by extracting it from its original context, thereby intensifying the perception of reality. The Le Point du Jour art center stands as a testament to the power of architecture to transcend its physical boundaries, creating a space that is simultaneously distinct and harmonious, engaging with its surroundings in a thought-provoking manner.