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Issue #20

MODERN ART MEETS HISTORIC MINING HERITAGE

Building envelope

The renovation and conversion of the Interpretation Centre Cité des Electriciens in Bruay-la-Bussière (Pas-de-Calais) in France by Philippe Prost Architects clearly stands out, thanks to the ruby red glazed roofing tiles.
Detail, Cité des Electriciens, AAPP / Atelier d'architecture Philippe Prost © Armel Istin
© Armel Istin
Detail, Cité des Electriciens, AAPP / Atelier d'architecture Philippe Prost © Armel Istin
© Armel Istin
Exterior, Cité des Electriciens, AAPP / Atelier d'architecture Philippe Prost © Armel Istin
© Armel Istin
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Exterior, Cité des Electriciens, AAPP / Atelier d'architecture Philippe Prost © Armel Istin
© Armel Istin

MODERN ART MEETS HISTORIC MINING HERITAGE

Building envelope

The renovation and conversion of the Interpretation Centre Cité des Electriciens in Bruay-la-Bussière (Pas-de-Calais) in France by Philippe Prost Architects clearly stands out, thanks to the ruby red glazed roofing tiles.

Before it became the filming location for Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks), this district saw one of the first rows of terraced houses to be built in the mining country of Les Hauts-de-France. In tandem with the renovation of the existing location, a new building has been added to the site, completing the architecture of the rows of terraced houses. Intended to house the Mining Landscape Interpretation Centre, it features a wholly surprising cladding composed of ruby red glazed tiles, both for the roofing and for the façade, forming a building envelope. The tiles reflect the changing light of the region but also create a connection to the industrial heritage of the region. The idea was to follow the rules of building of 19th-century rows of terraced houses, with flaws in the light that recall the position of bearing walls, whilst reinventing the outer appearance.

Sectional plan, Cité des Electriciens © AAPP / Atelier d'architecture Philippe Prost
© AAPP / Atelier d’architecture Philippe Prost

The clay tiles make it possible to associate traditional forms with more contemporary touches.

Lucas Monsaingeon, Project Leader at AAPP

A SUBTLE DESIGN

The glazed tile forms a harmonious cladding medium that seems to have come straight from a ceramics studio, with an intense and shimmering red glaze. The tile cladding restores the original appearance, the format and the natural flourish of brick. Architect Lucas Monsaingeon speaks of the “vibration generated by the different nuances of red resulting from the hand-crafted clay tile.” He welcomes the very subtle laying of the tiles by experienced roofer professionals.

Model, Cité des Electriciens © AAPP / Atelier d'architecture Philippe Prost
© AAPP / Atelier d’architecture Philippe Prost
Aléonard-Emaillées-Rubis
Aléonard-Emaillées-Rubis

A CREATIVE GESTURE

The building will also house four artists’ residences where the red glaze will rhyme quite naturally with the work of its occupants. Sunshine and cloud flirt with the glaze, constantly changing reflections and colours, light and shade. For the architect, “a creative gesture in this project was needed, whilst respecting heritage. Glaze can be found in mining country, especially in the decorative pieces insets into the roofs or façade brickwork in more wealthy houses. The glazed ruby red tile brings the new building to life: it shimmers in the changing light of passing clouds and offers infinite variations to the visitor as he wanders around. ”Or how to give our working class history a touch of nobility.”

Facts
  • Project name
    Cité des Electriciens, Bruay-la-Bussière, France
  • Architect
    AAPP / Atelier d’architecture - Philippe Prost
  • Used products

    Aléonard Emaillées Rubis

  • Year of completion
    2016
Aléonard-Emaillées-Rubis

Roof

Aléonard Emaillées Rubis – France