Montpellier Ô

Montpellier Ô, Montpellier - France, King Kong

Construction year:
Architect(s): Montpellier Ô
City/Town: Montpellier Ô

Construction of an open-air theatre, offices, and creation of a 15-hectare park with a parking lot

The Château d’Ô is an 18th-century country mansion set within an estate of 8 hectares. The project here comprised architectural and landscape design for a 15-hectare swathe of parkland around the estate’s periphery. Today, urban redevelopment projects and new road infrastructures completely encase the parkland, underlining the importance of a green buffer around the estate to counterbalance subsequent phases of urbanization and provide an interface between local built-up neighbourhoods and the park.

Montpellier Ô, Montpellier - France, King Kongphoto © Arthur Péquin

A vast public square to the north of the site was positioned in line with the Château’s main axis, a gathering point for visitors arriving at the park, offering fine unhampered views over the mansion and its gardens. The car parks and existing meadows are partially wooded and it was against this leafy backdrop that the 3 sites for theatrical performance were positioned: the amphitheatre, shaded theatre and area reserved for circus tops. A durable black metal mesh was used as a construction material, lending the whole an ephemeral air, as a contemporary reinterpretation of the imposing wall forming the backdrop of a Classical theatre. These areas house the dressing rooms, storerooms, and offices, as well as offering protection from the sun and the wind and supporting the stage equipment.

Montpellier Ô, Montpellier - France, King Kongphoto © Arthur Péquin

The tiered seating faces this scaenae frons just like in the theatres of Ancient Greece or Rome. The seating plays on the natural incline of the site, forming fan-shaped rows ensconced within long curved sheets of oxidized metal. These panels are punctuated by the lighting equipment for the amenities housed below and the access staircases. In 2012, the second phase of building work was carried out to equip the stage with an awning, therefore not only sheltering it from the elements but also increasing its practicality for a wider variety of cultural activities.

Contributed by King Kong

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