A unique form of pre-fabricated concrete rises from a natural rock wall in Aix-en-Provence, France. Designed by architecture firm Atelier Fernandez & Serres, this cultural centre provides both interior and exterior congregation spaces for the city. The defining feature of the structure is a long, curvilinear wall which wraps the courtyard in a nearly complete circle. This circle is a lovely central gathering place that is both exposed to the elements yet feels protected and private. Built-in benches, constructed of the same material as the surrounding wall, further support the space’s function as a place to assemble and linger. Outside the tall walls, an expansive plaza — made from poured concrete — provides additional space to use or enjoy the site.
The interior of Espace Arbois Duranne is equipped with a few flexible use rooms. The rooms are designed in soft grey and white tones, with a bit of natural light pouring in from skylights and high-cut windows. The simple and open design of the rooms allows them to be used in a variety of ways to support the city’s residents.
Espace Arbois Duranne is a thoughtful design that is as beautiful as it is functional. Any city would be lucky to have a community space such as this.