Welcome pavilion Clemenceau
by Titan architects

Georges Clemenceau spent the last years of his life in a house located at the edge of the ocean in Saint-Vincent-sur-Jard, France, transformed later into a National Monument.

Georges Benjamin Clemenceau was a French doctor, journalist and politician, prime minister and head of government during the French Third Republic. His understanding of arts and culture continue to inspire today.

Demolished by Xynthia, the welcome pavilion was rebuilt to acquire visitors and reinstate the National Monument. One of the premises was to work with the massing of the old structure composed of two juxtaposed volumes.

Cyclone Xynthia was a windstorm which crossed Europe between February and March 2010. In France, where it was especially violent, at least 51 people were killed.

Titan Architects’ proposal for the new entrance pavilion was a discrete rectangular volume, gently embedded into its surroundings. Respecting the site’s heritage, the new addition acts as a gateway to the gardens.

In this beautiful landscape scenery, Clemenceau designed a garden inspired by his friend, painter Claude Monet, which is a focal point in the project.

They imagined the structure as a concrete monolithic volume emerging from the ground.

Combining minimalism with ecology, their concept imposes durability and integrity, and creates presence, but remains humble.

Its hull, entirely built of concrete, blurs into the beach, the dunes and the courtyard, all while clearly defining a passage from the open public space to the intimate gardens.

The outer body is constructed in two different ways according to the volumes. The welcome pavilion is entirely made of smooth sand-coloured concrete, while the other, also of concrete, is robust.

Working with the site’s constraints, the new project revolves around a central nave.

A pavilion acting as a ‘‘transition structure’’, accommodating reception, museum shop and educational space, and simultaneously connecting two additional volumes for technical facilities and the personnel.

The constraints were turned into the programme’s advantage to provide optimised space, allowing simple visitor flow.

Of rebuilding in the exact massing of the old building and legal restrictions after the storm.

The collaborative work and openness between the team of architects, the client and the execution company, facilitated a project with extended meditation.

The sloped concrete roof, the different concrete techniques, and the challenges of constructing under the norms of Monuments Protection lead to new potentials, expressing the sensitive aspects of concrete and its visionary implications.

Authors Titan Architects
Location Saint Vincent-sur-Jard, France
Year 2019
Photography Julien Lanoo

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a project powered by Itinerant Office

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