City of Music on Seguin Island: expertise throughout the chain
City of Music perspective ©Shigeru Ban architectes
The large hall, devoted to modern music, will propose untill six different shows in two days.
The City of Music is rising on Seguin Island ©Laurent Blossier
A multi-disciplinary project
The construction project on the former Renault factories site is already causing a stir because, in many respects, it is one of a kind. This new cultural facility, commissioned by the Conseil départemental of Les Hauts-de-Seine and designed by the architect Shigeru Ban, will comprise a large modular concert hall with a capacity of 6,000 and that can hold three different shows in the same day, an auditorium with a capacity of 1,100 dedicated to classical music, a training centre and recording studios. What are the designers ultimately aspiring to? Making it a benchmark venue for Music.
The City of Music was acclaimed by professionals during MIPIM 2015, when it was awarded the "Best Futura Project" prize, and is based on a double principle of openness and diversity. This approach is reflected in every feature of its architecture and dictates the day-to-day activities of the teams working on the project. Those involved are the Tempo consortium, composed of Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France for design and construction, Sodexo for maintenance and servicing and STS Evénements for artistic operation (subsidiary of Sodexo and the TF1 Group). These partners are experts in their fields and have come together to best meet customer expectations.
"The greatest challenge is in working as a large and varied team of people, an amalgamation of different talents that are, at times, very far removed from the world of construction. Our response to the operations component, for example, took a long time to be implemented but it works very well […]. The City of Music is, in many respects, an experimental project towards a new model for developing synergies within the Bouygues Group.”
Cyrille Gassian, Projects manager with Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France, our subsidiary leader of the Tempo consortium
Operation at the heart of the design
Another feature that will no doubt make all the difference when the building opens is the fact that the operator has been involved since the call to tender phase. Something that is common practice on renovation sites is exceptional here, as was underlined by Jean-François Richard, CEO of STS Evénements, "The efforts made by Bouygues Construction and the Conseil départemental to involve us in every aspect of the operation is a first for a construction of this magnitude. We took part in some ten meetings with the architects and are systematically consulted with regard to the construction aspect with Bouygues Construction and the maintenance aspect with Sodexo, so we can validate the precise elements of the complex that we will have to manage as soon as it opens. One significant example is the fact that we modified the structure of the boxes in the large hall, which we did not consider appropriate to the standard of welcome we wanted to provide for artists; we also improved seating comfort to enhance the public's experience and optimise maintenance. We really are working hand-in-hand to be worthy of the venue's philosophy of excellence and make this a global benchmark."
This is the time to outline the conditions for accessing the different areas, so the programme has not yet been revealed. When it is, it should meet a very precise set of specifications, mixing genres and pushing back the traditional boundaries of performance halls so that it can bring together all forms of music and all types of musical expression. In accordance with the client's wishes, the City of Music has been designed as a venue for freedom of expression and artistic creation, with its internal spaces - the halls and studios will be accessible to as many people as possible - and its external spaces - 2,000 m² of businesses - open to everyone. A future socialising and lifestyle area created by the ultimate experts.
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