Linazasoro / TBZ / Sánchez, building in Troyes (France)
Photos: Roland Halbe
The city of Troyes in north-central France owes its irregular urban fabric to a historical development whose origin can be dated back to the Roman period and which had its peak in the 13th century, although the characteristic image of its streets lined with wooden houses is mostly attributable to the great urban reconstruction that was carried out during the 16th century, after a major fire.
In this context, and occupying the site of an old Gothic construction, two new buildings have gone up – a municipal administration center and a congress center – which are defined by the way they engage in a respectful but self-confident dialogue with history. So, while the former is connected to a preexisting building by means of a series of footbridges, the latter delimits a small square and restores a medieval street, articulating the void through the concatenation of social spaces, a scheme repeated in the urban pattern of the historic quarter. The complex, which contains offices, a plenary session hall, a multipurpose space, and an auditorium with seating for 800 people, evokes vernacular types in its slanting roofs. Such references to history are not a rejection of contemporary language; on the contrary: the facades present large surfaces of reinforced concrete coexisting with delicate wooden lattices, while the interior is dominated by dry abstract finishes.
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