HBAAT and V+: Cultural space and municipal cinema MarcqenBarœul

Hart Berteloot Atelier Architecture Territoire (HBAAT) in Lille and V plus in Brussels won the 2017 competition and were commissioned by the town of Marcq-en-Baroeul, in Hauts-de-France, to design a new cinema on Place Doumer.
The municipality wanted a building illustrating a modern cultural system for Marcq-en-Baroeul, where the arts come together to revitalize the social fabric of this district at the gates of the city. The new space will contain three cinemas (80, 120 and 300 seats), a party room that can accommodate up to 700 people, a café-brasserie and rehearsal rooms for the local music school.
Cinema not only as an individual experience but, back to basics, as a performance to participate in and share: this is the concept underlying the “Le Pont des Arts” project, built in 2021 on the former site of a multipurpose room . Overlooking a square with a strong commercial vocation, with a central car park which also hosts the local market, the Halle Doumer imitates the red brick walls typical of the architecture of Lille and Marcq-en-Baroeul, but without any particular prestige. The single-storey building was set back from the square, with a gate limiting access. All around were two-story apartment buildings and shops, overlooking what was actually a large parking lot, without a true center or traffic lane differentiation.
The “Le Pont des Arts” cultural space demonstrates respect for its urban environment and offers the city a new landmark, guiding the routes of the territory. The basic concept is inspired by HBAAT and V+’s thinking about the limitations of today’s cinema buildings, which are built from the inside out to allocate multiplex formally expressionless technical amenities that make their suburban surroundings even worse than before. They analyzed the history of Art Deco cinemas, such as the Colisée Lumière on rue Montgolfier, not far from Place Doumer, and inspected masonry and brickwork decorations typical of the architectural lexicon of the town of Marcq-en-Baroeul. The project interprets all these influences and brings back the cladding of bare handmade bricks, with straight and curved elements embracing all sorts of shapes to establish a higher unity. The pale color of the building ensures the consistency of its exterior cladding and concrete interiors.
The architecture of the new cultural center do not seek verticality or impose itself as a monument, but its main facade juts out to line up with the storefronts of the square, completing the promenade route through the city. The project establishes a first scale of relationship with passers-by with an all-glass base inspired by Art Deco cinemas, opening up views to the foyer, bar-brasserie and entry area, where curved windows form a recessed entry area.

The atmosphere of waiting before the show begins on this catwalk, from where customers can already glimpse the refined but modern interiors of the cinema.
While the foyer seems to stretch out towards the square and the town, the projection rooms, the village hall and the music school remain in the background but rise, establishing a relationship on a second scale, that of the architecture and the neighborhood. The three nuclei of the program are divided into three volumes arranged around a large empty space, the terrace above the foyer. To the west is the 300-seat Screening Room, with the two smaller rooms positioned one above the other in the middle, while the eastern volume contains the School of Music, s extending towards the town, and the village hall opening onto the garden behind the building.
The blocks thus formed do not constitute a closed curtain of buildings, but a multiple and fragmented landscape. Between them, wide new interior walkways on two levels, bisecting the building in the transverse direction and opening the view beyond. The dramatic foyer windows draw people’s attention to the square, drawing the eye to the back garden. The grand staircase that becomes the center of attention provides access to the screening rooms and what the architects call the fourth room, a roof terrace for open-air screenings, parties and small concerts. Their intention is to involve the whole place in the events taking place at the “Pont des Arts”, acting as a echo chamber. The interior decoration combines wood with glass and concrete. Paying homage to the textile industry of Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing, large tapestries made digitally by a local company illustrate scenes from French art films, instead of film posters. Carefully curated at every scale, from the urban scale to the furniture and lighting design, the project is dramatic when viewed from the square by day, while in the evening it frames the crowds of cinephiles waiting the start of the show. , with all the charisma of a urban living room.

Mara Corradi

Architects: Hart Berteloot Atelier Architecture Territoire (HBAAT) & V plus
Client: City of Marcq-en-Baroeul
Location: Marcq-en-Baroeul, Lille, France
Project manager: HBAAT, contractor
Chevalier Masson / textile design
Richard Klein, architectural historian
Greisch / BET structure
BEA / BET fluids
Cabinet Becquart / Economist
Daidalos / BET Acoustics
Theatrical projects / Scenography
Leblanc & Venacque / Landscaping
General contractor: Tommasini costruzioni
Area: 3000 m²
Competition: 2017
Year of completion: 2021
Photos by:
(01-04) Cyrille Weiner Photographer, https://cyrilleweiner.com/fr/
(05- 27) Hart Berteloot Atelier Architecture Territory (HBAAT) http://hbaat.fr/

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