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Group behind the project: L’Escaut-Gigogne (temporary partnership)

Assistant to the contracting authority: Projenor

The Chapel of the former Ursuline Convent, a remarkable example of classical architecture dating from the early 18th century and a listed heritage building, was converted after the Second World War, resulting in the loss of its original interior.

The presence of concrete floors, usually destructive for a historical monument, has in this case been turned into an opportunity: the chapel has been transformed from a vulgarly spoilt monument into a centre for the conservation of art, with an envelope worthy of a heritage building.

The decisions with the most impact on the interior layout were the creation of a vertical fissure overlooking the height and length of the nave, and the maximised visual liberation of the ground floor. These openings made it possible to grasp the full three-dimensional aspect of the chapel's original interior, into which the mass of the precious archive rooms was to be slotted.

The plans were structured around these two architectural gestures, with the building then being subdivided into four sections, one of which is open to the public (the ground floor rooms and the documentation centre on the first floor), the three others being for use by technical staff and including areas for restoration, administration, logistics and archiving (over six floors).

After entering the chapel, visiting members of the public are met in the lobby by a combination of digital displays for carrying out information searches and display cases containing real works.

The light brought in through the architectural fissure invites the visitor, from the moment they arrive, to experience the visual magnificence of the lateral nave. This fissure sheds as much light on the building's original purpose as it does on its new function, revealing both the original space and the series of more recently installed floors, containing thousands of objects, examples of which are displayed on the ground floor.

Visitors can then continue by making their way through the lateral nave, exploring the various rooms of displays. These include immersive digital equipment for the virtual exploration of digitised works, displays of real works, the opportunity to create your own virtual exhibition, the chance discover other Mons museums belonging to the same network as the Artothèque, and more.


The architect Pierre Van Assche and Catherine Dohmen talk about the project (in French)


Découvrez le chantier de l'Artothèque : TéléMB, 15/07/2013




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