The renovation and conversion of the Interpretation Centre Cité des Electriciens in Bruay-la-Bussière (Pas-de-Calais) in France by Philippe Prost Architects clearly stands out, thanks to the ruby red glazed roofing tiles.

Project details

Project name
Cité des Electriciens, Bruay-la-Bussière, France
Architect
AAPP / Atelier d’architecture - Philippe Prost
Products used
Aléonard Emaillées Rubis

Cité des Electriciens, France

Cité des Electriciens, France

Cité des Electriciens, France

Cité des Electriciens, France

Cité des Electriciens, France

Cité des Electriciens, France

A location with history

Before it became the filming location for Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks), this district saw one of the first rows of terraced houses to be built in the mining country of Les Hauts-de-France. In tandem with the renovation of the existing location, a new building has been added to the site, completing the architecture of the rows of terraced houses. Intended to house the Mining Landscape Interpretation Centre, it features a surprising cladding composed of ruby red glazed tiles, both for the roofing and for the façade, forming a building envelope. The tiles reflect the changing light of the region but also create a connection to the industrial heritage of the region. The idea was to follow the rules of building of 19th-century rows of terraced houses, with flaws in the light that recall the position of bearing walls, whilst reinventing the outer appearance.

A subtle design

The glazed tile forms a harmonious cladding medium that seems to have come straight from a ceramics studio, with an intense and shimmering red glaze. The tile cladding restores the original appearance, the format and the natural flourish of brick. Architect Lucas Monsaingeon speaks of the “vibration generated by the different nuances of red resulting from the hand-crafted clay tile.” He welcomes the very subtle laying of the tiles by experienced roofer professionals.

A creative gesture

The building will also house four artists’ residences where the red glaze will rhyme quite naturally with the work of its occupants. Sunshine and cloud flirt with the glaze, constantly changing reflections and colours, light and shade. For the architect, “a creative gesture in this project was needed, whilst respecting heritage. Glaze can be found in mining country, especially in the decorative pieces insets into the roofs or façade brickwork in more wealthy houses. The glazed ruby red tile brings the new building to life: it shimmers in the changing light of passing clouds and offers infinite variations to the visitor as he wanders around. ”Or how to give our working class history a touch of nobility.”

 

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