9 RUE DU PLÂTRE
Built for Xavier Ruel’s BHV in 1891 by the architect Samuel Mejot de Dammartin, 9 rue du Plâtre is an industrial building with an elegant facade. First used as a warehouse, it went on to serve as a Dispensary, a girls’ school and more recently a further education prep school. Its current state reflects the number of transformations it has witnessed, first-person accounts of which were destroyed in the BHV archive fire.
THE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT
Installed in a 19th century industrial building, Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette, a space for artistic exhibition and production, will become a laboratory for creation, innovation and research.
To facilitate and engage with program of Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette, OMA will establish an exhibition tower in the building’s courtyard. This steel structure will act as a curatorial machine. Two superimposed platforms can move vertically along a rail. This will allow for a wide array of spatial combinations and configurations, and programmatic possibilities, that amplify the potential of existing spaces by articulating them.
A workshop, the heart of the project, will act as the base of the institution. The ground floor, which hosts public activities, becomes a passage linking the rue du Plâtre and the rue Sainte Croix. The exhibition spaces, the workshops, a teaching space and offices will fill the five storeys of the building, which has a total surface area of 2500m2.
The five storey industrial building, OMA and Machines characteristic of the end of the 19th. century, is organised in a U-shape around the courtyard. It can be crossed, giving access to the rue Sainte-Croix-de- la-Bretonnerie via a covered passage.
The architectural intervention responds to a desire for flexibility of programming, a quality often sought by cultural institutions, while respecting the conservation demands of the Architectes des Bâtiments de France.
A CURATORIAL MACHINE
An exhibition tower composed of two superimposed mobile floors is inserted into the building’s courtyard. The floors (around 100m2 each) can move vertically along the metallic structure and split into two equal parts creating an interplay of four mobile platforms. Thanks to their onboard motors, the platforms can move independently along the rails and can be positioned alongside existing floors.
Accessible from the existing building through openings onto the courtyard, these new exhibition areas articulate and complete the current space. Their combination offers a new curatorial dimension to the building by complimenting its more traditional spaces. This exhibition machine completes the other fundamental component of Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette: its production centre situated in the basement, where work will be created by invited artists.
The simultaneous use of these two features will allow the creation of unique work, conceived for a configuration of the appropriate exhibition.
OMA AND MACHINES
In the past, OMA has developed machines the function of which makes up part of the buildings that receive them. In the Maison à Bordeaux, a hydraulic platform moves freely between floors, and becomes a completely separate room. The Wyly Theater uses retractable mobile platforms which have as many configurations as possible uses for the scenic space.
OMA AND REM KOOLHAAS
Rem Koolhaas (1944) founded OMA in 1975 together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis, and Madelon Vriesendorp. In 2000, he won the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is the curator of the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture, entitled Fundamentals.
Koolhaas worked as a journalist and screenwriter before beginning architecture, and writing has remained central to his architectural practice. After studying at the Architectural Association in London, and at Cornell and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in the US, Koolhaas wrote Delirious New York (1978) and simultaneously began producing projects and proposals with OMA. In 1995, S,M,L,XL summarized the work of OMA in a 1,200-page book that redefined architectural publishing. As director of the project on the City research program at Harvard University, Koolhaas produced the books The Harvard Guide to Shopping (2001), an analysis of the role of retail and consumption in society and architecture, and Great Leap Forward (2002), a study of China’s Pearl River Delta; he also produced studies on Lagos, Roman architecture and communism.
Recently completed OMA buildings include De Rotterdam, three interconnected towers on the river Maas; Shenzhen Stock Exchange; the G-Star headquarters in Amsterdam; the new headquarters for China Central Television (CCTV) – a tower reinvented as a loop – in Beijing; a headquarters for Rotschild Bank in London; and Milstein Hall, an elevated slab that extends Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
OMA-designed buildings currently under construction include the Taipei Performing Arts Centre; three buildings in Doha, Qatar; the Bibliothèque Multimédia, à vocation régionale, a four-story public library in Caen; and Bryghusprojektet in Copenhagen, a mixed-use project accommodating the new headquarters for the Danish Architecture Centre.
At the same time as designing buildings around the world with OMA, Koolhaas works in non- architectural disciplines – including politics, publishing, media, fashion, and sociology – through his think tank and research unit AMO. In 1998, Koolhaas established AMO as a platform for using architectural thinking in non- architectural realms. Recent AMO projects include research into the countryside (globally) and the Russian hinterland; the design of catwalk shows for Prada and Miu Miu; Cronocaos, an exhibition on preservation, at the 2010 Venice Biennale; participation in the EU Reflection Group think tank with the task of making proposals for Europe in 2020; Roadmap 2050, a masterplan for a Europe- wide renewable energy grid; and the development of an educational program for Strelka, a new architecture school in Moscow.
AMO has also gust edited an issue of Wired magazine as well as consulting on the future of Conde Nast magazines; proposed a “barcode” EU flag; and developed a curatorial masterplan for the Hermitage museum, St. Petersburg.
Ellen van Loon
Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
With: Adrian Auth, Alice Grégoire, Barbara Materia, Francesco Moncada, Frane Stanic, François Riollot, Kenny Kim, Lina Kwon, Magdalena Stanescu, Paul Cournet, Pietro Pagliaro, Sebastian Janusz, Sofia Koutsenko, Thiago Almeida, Veselin Lozanov.
Modelshop: Anastasios Siakotos, Emile Estourgie, Tijmen Klone, Tom Shadbolt.