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The Soulages Museum located in Rodez, France was completed in 2014 by RCR Arquitectes – the winner of the 2017 Pritzker Prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel – in collaboration with architect G Trégouët. In 2008, RCR Arquitectes teamed up with the firm Passelac & Roques architects to take part in the Greater Rodez Authority’s design competition for the Soulages Museum. Chosen among 98 applicants, their project placed the museum on the north side of the entirely renovated Foirail garden. They grasped the significance of the site, considering it as a link between the historic center and the new quarters.
RESPECTFUL OF ITS SURROUNDINGS
THE STEEL REFLECTS PIERRE SOULAGES’ WORK
The cladding is made of Corten steel also known as weathering steel. When exposed to bad weather (i.e. to corrosion), this material creates a protective layer of rust. ”The Corten steel ages with time and perfectly suits the park’s natural surroundings. It is not a lifeless and sanitized material. Furthermore, its color-range echoes Rodez’s pink – grey colors.” (RCR Arquitectes). The shades of this steel also reflect Pierre Soulages’ work.
A UNIQUE PLACE
Four levels. From top to 1st floor:
-The storehouses (safety standard)
-The documentary center and a workshop for children
– The permanent exhibitions’ rooms with the works from Soulages’ donations
– The temporary exhibition room dedicated to contemporary artists
– ‘Musee Soulages’ – Chief Curator & Director of the Greater Rodez museums. Photos by Musee Soulages and photographer Vincent Boutin.
Neither a mausoleum nor a monographic chore, the Soulages Museum will be a place for meetings and new experiences. While being a genuinely modern and contemporary art museum, it will favor exchanges with similar institutions or foundations, with great freedom in its choices from promising to seasoned artists, through different themes and links from one historical era to another (the Middle Ages, for instance, whom Soulages holds dear). The museum fits into the European gathering of museums. The Soulages Museum will be ‘’ unusual ‘ according to the painter’s words,: ” It will highlight the process of artistic creation, the role of the unexpected that lies in it, and without using banal teaching methods, I hope it will open the eyes of the public and awake their spirit to understand what art stands for. ”
Visitor services will particularly strive to explain the meaning of the artist’s know-how and gestures. The audience will explore Pierre Soulages’ works in the museum by following an itinerary that combines the painter’s history– his biography–with other expressions of his creativity, such as oil paintings, paintings on paper, printed works or stained-glass windows. The bright rooms with high ceilings will alternate with the darkened rooms with low ceilings to tackle specific topics, including the very first figurative works Soulages made in Rodez, the inspiration he found in the Aveyron, the hanging of artworks, the Walnut Stains, the different techniques of engraving, or the works he did at Conques. Each aspect of the donation will be associated with its constituent technique. That is why Conques stained-glass windows are a link between monumental medieval heritage and contemporary creation and act as a catharsis: they are the accurate portrait of the artist. In Conques Abbey, Soulages thought of a new light. In Rodez, we must show clearly how we can approach that form of light thanks to experimental witnesses. From matter to thought, with tools and hands.
– Benoît Decron, Chief Curator & Director of the Greater Rodez museums
Photos: © Kevin Dolmaire © Patrice Thebault © Studio Fegari © Pep Sau © Cedric Meravilles
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
- Atelier-Bisque Doll (2009) by UID Architects
- House in Rishpon (2017) by Studio de Lange
- Mirador House (2011) by 2.8x Architects
- S. Mamede House (2006) by Aires Mateus
- Casa Alta (2012) by AS/D Asociacion de Diseño