bjarke ingels group's MÉCA cultural center in bordeaux documented by nils koenning

bjarke ingels group's MÉCA cultural center in bordeaux documented by nils koenning

earlier this month, a major new cultural venue opened in the french city of bordeaux. designed by bjarke ingels group (BIG) and FREAKS freearchitects, the 18,000 square meter institution brought together three regional arts agencies to form the maison de l’économie créative et de la culture en aquitaine, or ‘MÉCA’ for short. with the venue and its exhibitions now up and running, photographer nils koenning visited the site to document the building and its interiors. see koenning’s photos below, and read on for more information on the project.

all images © nils koenning



BIG and FREAKS, who were selected to complete the project in 2012, conceived the building as a single loop of cultural institutions that forms an extension of the promenade.not only does MÉCA spill its activities into the public realm and the urban room, but the public is also invited to walk around, through, above and below the new cultural gateway,’ bjarke ingels explains. ‘by inviting the arts into the city and the city into the arts, MÉCA will provide opportunities for new hybrids of cultural and social life beyond the specific definitions of its constituent parts.’



a series of steps and ramps lead the public directly into the outdoor urban room at the core of MÉCA, where a 7-meter-high (23ft) sign illuminates the space with white LED lights. these outdoor spaces can be used as stages for concerts or even as external galleries, while a permanent bronze sculpture depicting a half-head of hermes by french artist benoît maire is placed where the public space cuts through the building.



upon entering MÉCA from the ground floor, visitors arrive at the lobby where they are greeted by a spiral pit and a restaurant furnished with red chairs — designed by BIG in reference to bordeaux wine. meanwhile, a giant periscope by the restaurant and elevators allows visitors to view the activity taking place outside the building. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.



project info:


name: MÉCA
location: bordeaux, france
program: culture
status: complete
size: 18,000 sqm / 193,750 sqf
project type: competition
client: région nouvelle-aquitaine
design: bjarke ingels group + FREAKS freearchitects
collaborators: lafourcade-rouquette architectes, ALTO ingénierie, khephren ingénierie, hedont, dUCKS scéno, dr. lüchinger+meyer bauingenieure, VPEAS, Ph.A lumière, ABM studio, mryk & moriceau, BIG ideas
photography: nils koenning


project team:
partners-in-charge: bjarke ingels, jakob sand, finn nørkjær, andreas klok pedersen
project manager: laurent de carnière, marie lancon, gabrielle nadeau
team: alexander codda, alicia marie sarah borhardt, annette birthe jensen, åsmund skeie, aya fibert, bartosz kobylakiewicz, bernhard touzet, brigitta gulyás, david tao, edouard champelle, espen vik, greta krenciute, greta tafel, hyojin lee, ivan genov, jan magasanik, jeffrey mark mikolajewski, karol bogdan borkowski, katarzyna swiderska, kekoa charlot, lorenzo boddi, maria teresa fernandez rojo, melissa andres, michael schønemann jensen, nicolas millot, ola hariri, ole dau mortensen, pascale julien, paul-antoine lucas, raphael ciriani, santiago palacio villa, se hyeon kim, sebastian liszka, seunghan yeum, snorre emanuel nash jørgensen, teresa fernández, thiago de almeida, thomas jakobsen randbøll, yang du, zoltan david kalaszi, tore banke, yehezkiel wiliardy

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