Inserted in part of the Voltaire power station built in 1908 by Paul Friesé, the project enhances the strength of the existing building; a dialogue is established between the new volumes and the preserved metal framework. Emblematic, its glazed façade becomes a signal; the presence of the structure is revealed through the great window panes. The space is designed as an assemblage of distinct, readable volumes interwoven within the existing structure and adapted to the function of the place. This game of full, autonomous volumes creates a great common empty space for all uses.

The depth of the building, which was not perceptible, is opened up; the visitor can now perceive its full perspective in the great empty space bathed in natural light. This space reunites and distributes all the different components of the centre (restaurant, cinema rooms, exhibition space, fablab).

In the upper parts, a structure that can be dismantled is covered by screens whose vertical prolongation on the façade forms a projection screen. The films shown in open-air are thus visible from the street. The ephemeral continuation on the roof creates the effect of a cultural lantern for the neighborhood.

Cultural Centre, 5 screen cinema, video exhibition room, restaurant, movie fablab
Voltaire power station, Paris, 75011
h2o architectes (lead architect) with Unanime (structure engineer), Inex (mechanical Engineer), Cabinet Votruba (quantity surveyor), Impédance (acoustician)
Project partners
Les Carmélites, Michel Ferry - cinema operator - Le Pacte, Anne-Laure et Jean Labadie - film ditribution, operator - Florence Gastaud (L’ARP) - CD Restauration, Fred Robert - alternative spaces creation
1 390m²
Competition May 2015