VANVES – In a southwestern suburb of Paris, music and theatre have been inserted acoustically and visually into the Vanves commune. Architects Babin+Renaud, a Parisian-based architectural firm, has recently completed the Conservatory of Music, Dance and Theater.
The building is a regular box shape that sits back from the street to provide a public space with the potential for outside performances. The building acts like an old music box instrument – made up of elements that are fixed to a main metal baseplate, the auditorium acts as a primary founding space which subsidiary spaces hang onto. The minor spaces include: technical and operation areas, gardens, entry halls and classrooms for theatre, dance and music.
The aesthetic of the building continues the rectilinear nature of the box on the façade by creating three horizontal bands with vertical grids of varying sizes. The repetition reflects a sort of musical score which adorns the building with a feeling of rhythm. This treatment of the external building face continues to parts of the interior with striated panelled walls in the classrooms and vertical timber battens in the auditorium. All of the surface treatments of the interiors no doubt serve to deal with acoustics by softening sound reflections. The sound engineering is continued by the ideal acoustic shape of the shoebox utilised for the internal theatre form to assist with shortening reverberation times.
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