The Victor Gelez Community Centre / Dumont Legrand Architects

The Victor Gelez Community Centre / Dumont Legrand Architects

The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Stairs, HandrailThe Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - WindowsThe Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Image 4 of 20The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Windows, Facade+ 20

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The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Windows, Facade
© Thomas Lannes

Text description provided by the architects. The Victor Gelez Community Centre is by nature an unusual place. It’s a neighbourhood facility encouraging personal development in a shared space for open creativity. This is a place for dancing, sculpting, painting, graffiti, playing music, meeting up, discussion and debate, resources, learning and transformation.

The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Windows, Facade
© Thomas Lannes

We intended this space to reflect its purpose. The design is simple: an interplay of subtly curved brick walls containing this depth of multitude within.

The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Image 13 of 20
Floor Plan

Site

The primary feature of the parcel of land is that it is located at a juncture in the image of the centre’s miscellaneous environment. On one side there is the Ménilmontant blind-alley, a narrow road part of the Paris quartier’s original fabric, flanked by buildings of no more than 3 storeys, and on the other, the rue Victor Gelez bordered by turn of the century buildings 5 to 7 storeys high. The transition between these two different street geometries is provided by this community centre on the corner.

The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Windows, Facade
© Thomas Lannes

Urban integration

From whichever direction you reach the site, you are on a narrow road which does not allow you to take a step back from the building. This dimensional constraint consequently reveals a dynamic perspective of the façades. They gradually come into view as one approaches, instead of being seen from any chosen perspective or static position. Their curved architecture enhances this movement with fluency.

The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Image 20 of 20
Section

Shape and volume

One of centre’s features is that each room or series of themed rooms has an entire floor to itself. This vertical arrangement takes on particular importance, both in terms of internal layout and how it can be interpreted from the road.

The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Stairs, Handrail
© Thomas Lannes

It is this interplay between the vertical composition, the different room heights and the balance between void and fill which creates a strip narrative, engaging the building in a relationship with its surroundings.

The Victor Gelez Community Centre  / Dumont Legrand Architects - Brick, Facade, Windows
© Thomas Lannes

Brickwork

Brick was chosen due to its prior existence on the site, how it accompanies the curvature of the four strips which make up the façades, and its gradient effect. The material gradually transforms. At the base it is dark, solid and urban, then, as the façade gradually rises, the first shade pixellates then softens in the fuller sections formed by the deep dance studio. It then lightens in reflection of the Parisian sky, blending up into it. The gradient effect also reflects the transition in the height of the neighbouring buildings, with the upper part of the darker bricks at the heights of the Ménilmontant blind alley. The effect is simple and playful, giving the community centre its identity.

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Project location

Address:Paris, France

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "The Victor Gelez Community Centre / Dumont Legrand Architects" 25 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/508386/the-victor-gelez-community-centre-dumont-legrand-architects> ISSN 0719-8884

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