Charleroi Museum of Photography Extension

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Charleroi Museum of Photography Extension
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Charleroi Museum of Photography Extension, Mont-sur-Marchienne, Belgium
l’Escaut Architecture

Photos : Gilbert Fastenaekens

Mies van der Rohe Awards Nominee 2009

New wing of the Charleroi Museum of PhotographyHidden within a traditional block of houses, the new extension to the Museum of Photography in Charleroi takes roots in the orchard of a former Carmelite convent. The building is inside the enclosure of the convent, which hides a big garden which has several trees registered with the Heritage Inventory. The park is surrounded by backyards from suburban streets; a public school and a sports complex.
By investing the park, the new building invites visitors and neighbours to inhabit this inner outdoors. The park creates the link between three social functions: culture, education, and sports. Its opening to the public becomes a matter of social dynamics and urban transformation.

During the project, the reflection enlarged to the surroundings of the Museumcomplex. The city of Charleroi promotes this approach through the development of a 'master plan for urban renewal' for the aria. This plan is the result of a consultation process with the inhabitants and was fuelled by an anthropological approach.

From the outside, the new building seems to call out to the surroundings, its succession of hollows creating lines of sight or backgrounds of a spatial scenography. The multiple shapes in the foreground become meaningful since they are related to their context (park, houses, equipments…). The inner stroll catches this outer experimentation and gives it the form of multiple looks.

Charleroi Museum of Photography Photos : Eloisa Astudillo

The architecture playfully blurs the boundaries between inside and outside spaces: the cantilever grows hollow to allow daylight lighting up an outside fern cover; the winter garden shelters fragrant plants inside the museum... Each place forms both a specific room and an antechamber to the following ones, as a kind of ‘between space’ or ‘between the two’.


2 photos

Building Activity