Musée Soulages

RCR: Corten Boxes


Although its walls have yet to be decked with drawings, oil paintings, engravings, and other works of art, one can already get a good idea of the spaces contained in the newly completed Soulages Museum, designed by the firm RCR and built in collaboration with the local studio Passelac & Roques. This is an enclave devoted to Pierre Soulages – a French artist who was born in 1919, considered one of the fathers of informalism in his country – and situated within a park of his native city, Rodez, very close to its most important building, its Gothic cathedral. This choice location determined the way the museum is inserted in its environment, capitalizing on the existing drop of terrain to separate the built volume in two parts: on the one hand a sloping and half-buried plinth, and on the other hand a set of blind prisms covered with core-ten steel. They connect with a longitudinally positioned structure placed parallel to the main street, intended as a circulation spine. While the exterior of the new museum presents a visual rhythm determined by the varying heights, depths, and separations of the core-ten boxes, the protagonists inside are the atmospheres defined by the manner in which natural light shines in through skylights, giving rise to a graduation from penumbra – reserved for the more delicate exhibits, such as drawings – to brightness. The Soulages Museum is the first work executed by RCR in France, where the architects from the Gerona city of Olot have four other projects currently in process.

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