SO-IL architects in collaboration with FREAKS architects in 2021 completed the design of Site Verrier. It is a multidisciplinary cultural space that hosts artistic installations, events and concerts. They are trying to preserve the industrial heritage by adding a sweeping concrete plaza that joins a series of cultural spaces.

-text by the architects

Hidden in the bucolic landscape of Northern Vosges Natural Park, Site Verrier de Meisenthal is a publicly funded active cultural center in a historic glass factory dating back to the 18th century.

Three independent yet interrelated institutions: the glass museum (Musée du Verre et du cristal) – a living memory tracing the history of glass at the site; the CIAV (Centre International d’Art Verrier) – an international glass art center where traditional craftsmanship meets contemporary practices; and the Cadhame (Halle verrière) – a multidisciplinary cultural space hosting art installations, happenings and concerts are sited at varying floor levels.

Our intervention unifies them to define a contemporary institutional identity in dialogue with an industrial heritage.

An undulating poured-in-place concrete surface alludes to glass production as it unites the buildings.

The surface functions as roof, ceiling, and wall, connecting the buildings’ ground floors to frame a public plaza. New functions are sensitively introduced under and over this surface, including offices, workshop areas, a cafe and restaurant.

Existing building functions are reimaged and extended: the factory hall is given a new entrance on a previously unused basement floor and a 500-seat black box theater that can be reconfigured as a theater with standing room for 700 or opened into a concert hall for 3,000.

The new public space heightens civic awareness of the historical site and also introduces a highly flexible venue for outdoor theater, concerts, and seasonal festivities.

Facts adn Credits

Project Title  Site Verrier
Project Type  Urban Planning
Client  Communauté de communes du Pays de Bitche
Location  Meisenthal, France
Program  Cultural center, visitor center, black box theater, art storage, offices, workshop
areas, classrooms, cafe, restaurant, bar, music studio
Area  6,500 m² / 70,000 sf
Status  Completed 2021
Team  SO—IL: Florian Idenburg, Jing Liu, Ilias Papageorgiou, Lucie Rebeyrol, Ian Ollivier,
Seunghyun Kang, Pietro Pagliaro, Danny Duong, Antoine Vacheron
FREAKS: Yves Pasquet, Cyril Gauthier, Guillaume Aubry, Bertrand Courtot, Axel Simon
Architects  FREAKS architecture
Project Manager  LFA
Structural Engineer  MHI
Scenography  dUCKS
Museography  Designers Unit
Cost Estimator  MDETC
Acoustic  Peutz
Planning Manager  C2Bi
Photography  Iwan Baan