Regional Foundations for Contemporary Art FRAC - a network of educational and exhibition centers with their own collections, covering the whole of France. Over the past 10 years, these institutions have received new buildings designed by renowned architects: among the existing ones - buildings by Odile Decck - in Rennes and Kengo Kuma - in Marseille and Besançon, Lacaton & Vassal in Dunkirk. In 2015, FRACs for the BIG and Rudy Ricciotti projects are to open in the Aquitaine and Lower Normandy regions, respectively.
Now a new FRAC is opened in Orleans, built by the Parisian architects Jakob + MacFarlane: in its "jurisdiction" - the Center region. The bulk of his collection is devoted to architectural utopia: it includes 15,000 blueprints and drawings and 800 models of experimental architectural projects from the post-war period, especially from the 1960s and 1970s, including works by Iona Friedman, Claude Paran and the Archigram group. The FRAC Center management considers its collection to be the third largest and most important architectural collection in the world.
Apparently, it is to this futuristic specificity that the museum owes such an extravagant image of the new pavilion: surrounded by the U-shaped building of military provisions warehouses of the 19th century, a tubular faceted shell called "Turbulence" appeared. Its three metal "outgrowths" of aluminum panels face the sky with glass edges, and the base "flows" into the courtyard with concrete slabs, creating a topographic surface that unites all FRAC buildings and breaks out into the city space.
When analyzing the site, the architects identified two main grids formed from the historical context, and at their crosshairs, in the "turbulence zone", the pavilion's shape materialized - extruded and parametrically deformed intersection geometry. This geometry, born from the terrain and conditions of the site, expresses the design process, the process of emerging from two-dimensional lines of a real object.
The entire project included the restoration and renovation of the existing warehouse complex with a total area of about 3000 m2 and the dismantling of the wing overlooking the Rocheplat boulevard. Thus, the courtyard became a city square, opening the FRAC Cultural Center to Orleans.
Façade surfaces facing the city process the information streams from weather sensors in real time and visualize them into light images. Several hundred LEDs of "skin of light" create a dynamic interface that responds to changes in the state of urban space. This is how the building becomes a conduit for information, which, however, is not intended to be decrypted. This light installation, titled Resonance, was created by the artist duo Electronic Shadow.
On 3400 m2 of the total area of the new complex, 375 m2 for a temporary exhibition and 1110 m2 for a permanent one, a workshop (180 m2), a bookstore, a media gallery, and a cafe are located. In front of the central building, a garden (400 m2) is laid out, representing a dialogue between construction and vegetation: pozzolanic flooring, steel furniture and evergreen perennials, in some places accented with pink lilies, participate in the dialogue. This garden, with the controversial title of La faille, hosts outdoor exhibitions, concerts and film screenings.
Jakob + MacFarlane, in teaching Orleans about futurism, borrows vocabulary from the museum's permanent collection. Thus, what is hidden within the walls of the 19th century becomes part of the urban space of the 21st century.