words Beatrice Galilee
Périphériques designed a music centre in Nancy inspired by a concrete bunker. The Paris-based architecture practice wanted to give the clear impression to local people that L’Autre Canal was an effective soundproof box.
“We wanted to show that the building could contain the noise, but we also like to play with opposites,” says Périphériques principal David Trottin. “Up close there is very hard, tough concrete, but there are also these bright lights so when you are looking at it from afar, it seems very light and shiny.”
L’Autre Canal has two main music halls – one for 300 people, the other for 1,000 – and six recording studios that can be rented out cheaply to small bands to create demos. The building is at the end of a narrow boulevard on the site of an old abattoir between the riverside and the city.
There was very little space to create a grand entrance or formal front to the music centre, so the architects conceived the shared space and bar between the two rooms as the deep red “belly” of the building. “The idea is very similar to in Naples where there are a lot of small streets leading up to the cathedral. The nave becomes the open space for the city,” says Trottin.
In a political climate where youth is frequently alienated, the idea for a musical outlet for young people is clearly a good idea. “In France there are political motivations to create more music events, to connect young people,” says Trottin. “The site is important because in Nancy there is already a major stadium, so the new music centre will make a difference to the community. It’s a good place
to have fresh young people.”