Location: Pontoise, France.

Architect: gpaa.

The problem expressed by the project owner closely links the recomposition of Theater 95 to the sketch of an urban morphology and the design of the open spaces of the urban block. The extension of the theater is thought out in a dialectical vision of the theater-city interactions: the theater overflows its limits while the city, far from experiencing it as a solitary monument of culture, must find in it a porous space, a route, a place of emulation, dream, meeting and life dedicated to contemporary writings and placed by a very voluntary movement in the heart of the city. These circumstances led us to conceive of the theater block as a particular agent in a dialectic of reconquest of places and transformation of urban experience. With its presence as an artistic, literary and architectural beacon that punctuates the city, it participates in the deciphering of places.

Opposite the prefecture, the 95 theater is located in the third building built in the new town built in the 1970s. This building, emblematic of the town’s history, housed the school of architecture and town planning of Cergy Pontoise before becoming an arts school and then being transformed into a theatre. The extension project is a complex project that fits into a more general research issue around emerging cultural, social and urban changes and practices. He wants to invite the general public to discover new strategies to reinvent the city. This is why it joins, in its positioning, the contemporary urban strategies which transform unoccupied territories, hollow teeth, wasteland or large complexes into so many opportunities to rebuild the city on itself by reinvesting space, because a of the challenges of the European city is more surely to rebuild itself than to expand.

Photo credit: Agglomération de Cergy-Pontoise – Lionel Pagès.