MÉCA, Cultural Complex for Bordeaux

A team of well known designer wins a competition to design a new 12,000 m2 cultural center on the Riverfront of Bordeaux, merging three cultural institutions into one single building.  The new Maison de l'Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine, MÉCA, located on the historical riverfront of Bordeaux will house three regional visual and performing arts agencies FRAC, the ECLA and the OARA in one single institution.

Spearheaded by BIG, (in partnership with FREAKS freearchitects, dUCKS scéno, khephren Ingénierie, VPEAS, ALTO Ingénierie, Vincent Hedont, PBNL, Myrk $ Moriceau, and Ph.A), the proposal arranges the new center for contemporary art, the performing arts institution and the center for literature and movies around a public space open towards the city of Bordeaux and the Garonne River. The building is conceived as a single loop of public space and cultural institutions as the pavement of the promenade rises to form the roof of the main lobbies, ascends vertically along the stage tower of OARA, bridges across the promenade with the sky lit galleries of the FRAC and returns vertically to the ground at the archives of the ECLA in order to reunite with the waterfront promenade.

MÉCA, in an effort to engage the public who may not be as informed about the arts, spills its activities into the public realm and the urban room.  The public is also invited to walk around, through, above and below the new cultural gateway.  By inviting the art into the city and the city into the arts, the MÉCA will provide opportunities for new hybrids of cultural and social life beyond the specific definitions of its constituent parts.

The multiple ramps and stairs of the building create an institution that is publicly accessible and welcoming on the inside as well as the outside.  The urban room and the informal seating of the stairs will make the MÉCA a lively place and a natural extension of the life along the Quai de Paludate street and the new promenade.  During festivals or other special occasions in the city, the outside of the MÉCA can be transformed into a stage for outdoor concerts, theatrical spectacles or art installations.