Segments in this Video

A Remodeled and Repurposed Building (01:58)


North of Paris, the National Dance Center has found its home in what was once the Department of Justice, Police Station and Tax Office. The building was remodeled, preserving the emblematic work of the 70's.

Kalisz's Manifesto: A Building for the People (02:29)

In the 60s, the Mayor created an administrative center for all the governmental services. A narrow, triangular plot along a canal was chosen and architect Jacques Kalisz commissioned to build in the spirit of a socialist utopia.

Architecture: Brutalism (01:22)

In the 1950s, British architect Peter Smithson began a trend known as Brutalism. Le Corbusier and others created massive buildings with a functional form and materials left in a raw state.

Political Organization of the Building (02:35)

The exterior of Kalisz's building reflects its interior organization that accounted for large or smaller spaces according to function. Kalisz designed the facades using exterior projections with suspended balconies fronted by concrete aprons with geometric Aztec designs.

The People's Palace (03:07)

The street side entrance to Kalisz's building is framed by glass walls that geometrically outline the human body. Inside, raw concrete corridors are suspended over 80 meters, with a monumental staircase to the top.

Threatened Demolition (01:13)

The huge open volumes without heat or acoustic damping made the center offices hard to accept. Partitions and insulation changed the architect's conception and the offices eventually deserted the center. By 1998, it was an empty shell

Remodeling the Abandoned Building (01:29)

The Ministry of Culture bought the building for a new Dance Center, but Kalisz objected to the remodel and refused to have the facade altered. Architects Claire Guieysse and Antoinette Robain were chosen for the awarded remodel for the Dance Center.

Repurposing the Architectural Interior Volumes (01:36)

Architects Robain and Guieysse decided not to make any structural changes. They distributed the multiple functions within the existing volumes of the building.

Performance Space Alterations (02:45)

The original Police Station garage became a performance space, using black aluminium plates to darken the interior. All alterations were made to be reversible. Dressing rooms and lockers replace police cells.

Respecting the Original Design (02:14)

Kalisz's building is flooded with light, so the remodel architects inserted vertical aluminium shutters within Kalisz's concrete organ exterior design.

Red Stucco Curtain Wall (02:31)

Behind the original sculptural staircase, the architects extended a long screen wall of red stucco fronting dance studios and meeting rooms.

Brutalism Transformed into Art (02:06)

Colored neon lights set behind concrete elements project light onto the walls giving the space a theatrical aspect. Robain and Guieysse used colored light to accent their predecessor's architecture. Kalisz died before meeting the remodel architects.

Credits:The National Dance Center: Architecture - Achievements in Modern Architecture (00:29)

Credits:The National Dance Center: Architecture - Achievements in Modern Architecture

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The National Dance Center: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
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A new place of culture, created in 2004, following the reconversion of a municipal venue and the abandonment of a political utopia. In the early 1970s, architect Jacques Kalisz was asked to build an administrative complex, grouping together under one roof a set of administrative, social and legal services (a court, a social security center, a police station, a tax center, a union headquarters, an unemployment pole, a morgue, kennels etc.). The Pantin Administrative Centre was then one gigantic, solid, concrete vessel, beached on the banks of the Ourcq Canal, on the Parisian suburban belt, known as the "Ceinture Rouge". 20 years later, the centre had been deserted, following the failure of a social utopia. Destroying the premises was deemed to be too costly, so it was decided to renovate the place. In 2004, the building took on a radical new function - offices and office workers gave way to dance companies and rehearsal studios. This reconversion, which was awarded the Equerre d'Argent architectural prize on completion, was the first major creation of two young architect partners, Antoinette Robain and Claire Guieysse. 

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL94736

ISBN: 978-1-68272-100-1

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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