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Centre d’art Diane Dufresne de Repentigny, Canada

by Sophie Cullen on May 3, 2016 in Architecture
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With the Centre d'Art Diane Dufresne, ACDF Architecture has created a new arts centre for the suburban municipality of Repentigny

The Municipality of Repentigny and ACDF conceived of the centre as a part of a larger master plan, it being the first element to transform a once-sparse, underutilised park into a cultural corridor with thematic gardens, a civic plaza and a theatre. Part of the broader redevelopment scheme is to provide connections between previously disjointed, bungalow-lined streets.

Repentigny_5

The design team positioned the building at the nexus of new walking paths, linking a main boulevard with surrounding residential lanes, helping to draw people to the site. Aesthetically, the studio reinterpreted classical principles — a carefully proportioned colonnade in front of a calm reflecting pool, a monolithic materiality, and a solid, reassuring appearance — with contemporary sophistication. A number of the columns are deliberately askew to foster moments of encounter; the materiality is a glinting stainless steel; and the inner mass is sub-divided into three sinuous, Aalto-esque volumes, each of which conceals the centre's multipurpose room, dance recital space and main gallery area.

Repentigny_1

To contrast the metal's slickness, the three sinuous volumes in the interior are clad in locally-sourced wood, which gives a warmth to the project under an array of skylights. Importantly, Centre d'Art Diane Dufresne contributes to the community regardless of the time of day. At night, it acts as a lantern, activating the surrounding park, and making serene reflections in the pond.

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