fbpx DAN | Daily Architecture News La Galilée portico by Kengo Kuma safeguards future of medieval stonework - DAN | Daily Architecture News
La Galilée portico by Kengo Kuma safeguards future of medieval stonework

La Galilée portico by Kengo Kuma safeguards future of medieval stonework

Architecture
News
01-10-2121
WATCH: Global architecture and design highlights, including La Galilée in France by KKAA.

When asked to design a contemporary threshold charged with the protection of the western portal of the Saint-Maurice Cathedral in Angers, a medieval town 250 kilometres southwest of Paris, the architects from Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA) say they were confronted with one main challenge: “to create a harmonious dialogue between a contemporary creation whilst preserving Middle-Age architectural heritage”.

The sudden need to shelter the portal and its intricate stonework follows the discovery of precious polychromatic sculptures that date back to medieval times, as well as examples from more modern periods, up to the 17th century. “The uniqueness of this portal, dating from the 12th century, is represented by these multi-coloured stone relics typical of the Middle Ages, and only a new construction will be able to preserve it sustainably,” suggests the KKAA team. 

La Galilee Kengo Kuma
La Galilee Kengo Kuma

La Galilée pavilion at Cathédrale Saint-Maurice in Angers by Kengo Kuma

But to introduce a new structure that felt befitting of the cathedral’s majesty – without leaning into the realm of imitation – the architects say they needed to simulate a little time travel. “We wanted to put ourselves in the shoes of the builders of the Middle Ages and to create a regulatory framework, using compasses, thus generating the proportions which lead to unity,” they explain. “All this is achieved using the finest stone processes possible which then frees itself from the thick walls of the cathedral built in stereotomy.”

Working alongside heritage architects Vincent and Martin Brunelle, KKAA devised a portico that appears as a simple rectangular volume. Given the name La Galilée (translating to ‘narthex’ – a vestibule along the facade of an early Christian or Byzantine church), the new addition is at once sympathetic and bold. It’s a pavilion-like gesture where a facade of three stepped archways (joined by two additional archways when viewed from the inside) echoes the geometry of the surrounds, safely protecting the ancient portal for generations to come.

La Galilée by Kengo Kuma (at Cathédrale Saint-Maurice in Angers) is expected to be completed and open to the public in 2024.

kkaa.co.jp

We wanted to put ourselves in the shoes of the builders of the Middle Ages and to create a regulatory framework, using compasses, thus generating the proportions which lead to unity.

Kengo Kuma and Associates Architects
La Galilee Kengo Kuma
La Galilee by Kengo Kuma in France
La Galilee by Kengo Kuma in France

Catch up on more architecture, art and design highlights. Plus, subscribe to receive the Daily Architecture News e-letter direct to your inbox.

Related stories

Advertisement
Login to join the conversation

Subscriber comments are moderated first. Respect others. Criticise ideas, not people. No offensive language View commenting guidelines

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Further Reading
View all in Architecture
Botániqo residences in Ecuador by Tatiana Bilbao Estudio
Created with a community-centred approach, the layout of Botániqo is expected to encourage human connection through its healthy supply of shared spaces and facilities. As part of her design, Tatiana created a series of linked modules interspersed with open and closed spaces (both public and private) which generate a series of shapes so that each […]
Architecture
29-10-2121
Cinéma Le Grand Palais in Cahors by Antonio Virga Architects
When designing Cinéma Le Grand Palais, the team from Antonio Virga Architects looked to the existing buildings and their surrounds for inspiration. In particular, a commonality that was shared between each of the structures on-site. “All of the buildings were organised according to a rigorous set of planning rules, in accordance with 19th-century design practices […]
Architecture
21-10-2121
A bunker-like fashion boutique in Japan by Toru Shimokawa
In response to the client’s brief, Shimokawa-san created the Oharasando Building; a bunker-like retail experience that moves away from the typical high-street tenancy where access and sightlines are usually granted directly from the street. The heavy building was dropped down from the bustle of the road, providing a basement level for the men’s fashion offering, […]
Architecture
15-10-2121
Home tour: Tsuruoka House in Tokyo by Kiyoaki Takeda Architects
As an architect who contributes to this alarming trend, Takeda set himself a personal challenge. He was driven to design a home in Tokyo – for humans – that could also support an ecosystem of plants, insects and wildlife. In turn, offsetting his impact on the natural environment and perhaps establishing a blueprint for future residences. […]
Architecture
12-10-2121
Timber and stone form the public shelter by Behark in northern Spain
Herriko Plaza is perhaps the area of greatest public importance in Larrabetzu, predominantly due to its location – a central spot from which the township radiates. The quaint, open-air square sees the coming together of residents and tourists for social, celebratory and recreational activities. But the lack of covered public space in the urban centre […]
Architecture
07-10-2121
Qinchang Village Town Hall in rural China by Studio 10
Mirroring the approach of the project’s first phase, the Qinchang Village Town Hall precinct has played with the geometry and motif of arches, “which is a typical component in the local, traditional semi-underground dwellings,” the architects say. The cluster of buildings adopt “cast-in-place” concrete to achieve a series of fluid archways which have been extruded […]
Architecture
24-09-2121

Back to Top