Great Hall, Arles

Anna and Otto


Rehabilitation and conversion of an old boilermaking at the SNCF Workshops into a multipurpose auditorium.

A sort of Janus’ double face, the façades and roofs of this industrial wasteland play a contrast between heritage and modernity.
The west facade of the Great Hall is a long brown mantilla that filters the light, controls the heat and protects from the western sun. It is made spectacular by its cladding, a steel mesh claustria applied on a random triangular grid.

In the evening, the indoor lighting of the Hall transforms this facade into an intangible veil against the light. Mysterious, she plays on the sensuality of the “shown-hidden”. Plastic, it is a tribute to the boilermakers of the old workshops. Structural, it is an integral part of the vertical beams, extension of the skeleton of the Great Hall.

The facade is a gateway to the Great Hall. It is through this 40m long fault, that will penetrate the public: strong emotion, slip under 2.50m high with 52 tons of steel above you.

At night the Great Hall is dressed in a coat of light … A screen on its northern roof illuminates the sky. A huge 3,000m² “screen”, it is equipped with light-emitting diodes that can reproduce works by video artists, graphics, still images or colored solid areas, as well as TV signals.
Environmental approach: energy management, maintenance and maintenance.

Photos: © Michel Denancé

Technical sheet

Competition: winning project
Client: PACA Region
Location: SNCF warehouses, avenue Victor Hugo, 13200 Arles
Surface area: 7000 m²
Mission: architecture
Cost of works H.T .: 7 M €
Delivery: October 2008

Mastering team:
Agence Moatti – Rivière, Mandatory Architect
Associate architect: Philippe Donjerkovic
Design offices: Alma Provence (BET TCE), IG TECH (BET fluids), RFR (BET facades), Ecibat (BET structure), Ayda (acoustics), Fabrice Bougon (economy), ACL (lighting designer), Norisko (SSI)