Location: Montreuil, France.

Architect: Dominique Coulon & associés.

Dominique Coulon’s design for a state theatre in Montreuil, located in the eastern suburbs of Paris, mediates between the city center and rural surroundings. The building complex is dense and closed, but has open spaces for communication and exchange. The interior spaces expand and contract, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, with a ceiling above the reception desk that folds like tectonic plates on a collision course. The stairway features gyrating concrete volumes bathed in Caravaggioesque light. The red space expands horizontally, leading to the auditorium, and then contracts until it becomes lost in the darkness of the foyer. Breaches in the building envelope offer views to the city and allow daylight to penetrate deep into the space. Coulon’s design joins spatial, geographical, urban, and symbolic dimensions, creating a knot that connects the various elements.

Photo credit: Jean Marie MONTHIERS.