Cinema - Studio des Ursulines

Cinema - Studio des Ursulines

h2o architectes
10 Rue des Ursulines, Paris, France
Project Year
Stéphane Chalmeau

Refurbishment of a Cinema and Lobby - Studio des Ursulines

h2o architectes as Architects

Founded in 1925, by the actors Armand Tallier and Laurence Myrga, the Studio des Ursulines became the first cinema for art house film in France. Today, this theater continues it’s tradition by catering to the younger Parisian public by providing a locale to discover cinema in it’s many facettes. The small theater offers selective programming as well as the opportunity to meet those who make films.

The initiative for the renovation of the cinema’s lobby follows the tradition of innovation and evolution that have been a part of this establishment’s history. The existing space, although small, must allow for greeting and welcoming the public composed of both youngsters and adults, selling tickets and hosting events.

The original lobby is structred around a large oval centered on the ceiling and glazed wall cases framed in brass showcasing the movie posters and the the cinema’s news. These base building elements are preserved although refined in their treatments. The design team’s proposal was to regroup all functionalities into one central piece, hence liberating the rest of the space and creating a peripheral area in the lobby. Freedom of mouvement and circulation are made possible while inceasing the sense of space. The fixture slides and unfolds to reveal the necessary uses : closed it serves as a counter ; open, it offers a register at it’s heart ; when the lower part is spread, it offers bench seating and tables for children. The rest of the functionalities are incorporated in the lateral walls such as storage, bookshelves, access to the control room, etc.

A dynamic use of the fixture becomes apparent as adults and children make use of the fixture by making it their own. The movable boxes open up and reveal niches for display, storage or other secrets. The finishes are resolutely simple and contrasted. The fixture is tinted black, it slides on its base that is made out of brass. All equipment such as phone, register and printer are concealed so as to show only an abstract, playful and intriguing volume.

The lobby is in perpetual movement and adapts to the varied configurations of life in an art house cinema.

Project Credits
Roberts Pavilion, Claremont Mckenna College
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