This auditorium is a new symbol in the suburban city of Bondy. Suburbs have built an empire of shopping malls, individual houses and parking lots. Located on the outskirts of Paris, Bondy has a loose and low-density urban fabric. The architecture of the building plays with the aesthetics of the hangar : a very simple square plan and an undulated metal skin. Unlike a traditional hangar, it opens to its context through a series of arches, letting in natural light and views. Inside, every space has a specific acoustics related to its function and its ambiance.
Project’s strategy This building is designed as a simple and robust tool for the radio France choristers. It is open to appropriation and malleable to use. The box geometry and the undulated metal skin are directly inspired from suburban architecture. These formal choices were made to concentrate financial efforts on the auditorium room and its technical and acoustic facilities.
Multiple activities The unitary aspect of the building houses three different programs : an auditorium, a conservatory and an exhibition space. On the ground floor, several arches lift the undulated metal skin. These arches reveal the auditorium’s entrance, bar, hall and the exhibition space. The lower part of the building expresses the public function of the facility. Second and third floors are protected from the views since they house more private spaces. Located on the upper floors, the choral singing conservatory wraps around the volume of the auditorium. The conservatory is directly accessible to the choristers from the rear of the building.
Voice and frame This building provides Radio France a place of high quality dedicated to choral singing. The acoustics of the auditorium room was designed to provide natural sound clarity and intelligibility. Ceilings, walls and balcony deploy a pleated geometry to control the sound reverberation time. Depending on the configuration of the stage, the auditorium can accommodate acoustic or amplified concerts as well as live entertainment.
Layers The building is composed of successive layers for acoustic and thermal performance : concrete walls, lagging, rain barrier, glass windows, wooden acoustic panels and perforated metal skin.
Ambiances The interior spaces play in the contrast between raw materials and finishes left worked. In the auditorium room, birch plywood panels are attached to the walls. The balcony and the ceiling are covered with black acoustic panels. Black and wooden seats emerge from the soil bare concrete. In the choral singing conservatory, the walls are left bare concrete and the window frames are clad with wood. Biased walls are for the acoustic of the rooms. Perforated wood panels complement the rooms. The raw concrete ceiling is embellished with acoustic panels and spotlights.
Shape A project lasts several years and changes between the time of the study and its construction. PARC Architectes design robust and malleable shapes capable of absorbing transformations while maintaining the identity of the project. At one point of the project, the building has been flipped symmetrically to integrate the new exhibition space. Through the system of the arches in façade, the project seemed to stay the same, while every space has been redesigned inside.
Cost Completing a public cultural facility with high technical and acoustic performance in a context of economic crisis requires strategic choices at the outset. Revisiting the hangar’s aesthetics and constructive technology was the best way to focus the budget on the auditorium room, while providing an iconic building for the city and its users.