Mons Memorial Museum
Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.
Renovation, expansion, and museography for a military history interpretive centre (designated heritage site). The urban planning solution is based on the observarience a major turning point in its development with the still make an impact on the mode of organisation in the city. The Water Column Machine is a major indicator, symbol of an industrial society concerned with improving quality of life. The opacity of the extensions, designed to promote introspection on the content, contrasts with the light space of the main within a spatial and sensory perspective that allows visitors to devote themselves solely to what they are facing.
The edifice of the Machine-à-Eau enjoys a key position in the civilian, architectural and urbanism history of the city of Mons. The listed building remains at the heart of an ambitious, complex project, since both contemporary extensions complete the historic building on both sides, encompassing it is a whole bearing the sense of its new function.
The project responds to two urbanism components: one is founded on the evolution of the city (revolution of the behaviour of a movement in the nineteenth century). This notion of hinge will make the building into the articulation of the project. The second designates the immediate environment of the Machine-à-Eau, which is made up of an indefinite sum of spaces that deserved to be rehabilitated.The project resolves these various decompositions by reestablishing a contiguous front on the angle of the Boulevard Dolez, etching the new templates in the typological continuation by leaving their own identities to ancient buildings and enhancing them.
The existing light, open aspect and cantilever symbolise the effort and difficult equilibrium of peace under which we find a memorial space. The museum intent follows the chronology of Mons' civilian and military history. The natural light of the Machine-à-Eau symbolises periods of freedom whilst the annexes shed a light on the more introspective character. The matters are light, memory and History. The materials used are steel, brick and glass.