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Metz congrESs Robert Schuman

Embracing Complexity

Wilmotte & Associés

Metz congrESs Robert Schuman
By Francesco Pagliari -
Schüco, Knauf, AGC Glass Europe have participated in the project

Multiple use is the underlying design concept behind the Metz Congrès Robert Schuman in the north-eastern French city. Not only catering for a wide range of regional, national and international scale meetings and conventions with a series of flexible, different size environments, the complex is also a
trade-show venue and cultural center. This multipurpose center is well placed in a city like Metz whose location on the French border a stone’s throw from Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany makes it ideal as a prime European hub for a wide range of cultural and commercial events - an ambition already clearly announced with the Centre Pompidou-Metz by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines inaugurated in 2010.

The Metz Congrès Robert Schuman’s ambitious functional program is articulated in a striking architectural project designed to blend with and consolidate the relationship between the other distinctive architectural features of the old city and the wider urban area now undergoing radical transformation, like the new Quartier de l’Amphithéâtre with its mixed Zone d’Aménagement Concerté (joint develepment zone). One side of the convention center opens out directly on to the railway station serving the TGV high-speed trains; the other allows views over to the Centre Pompidou-Metz directly opposite, as well as to the rest of the city. Both the direct link with the railway station and city transport system and the building’s effortless insertion into its contemporary urban landscape are mediated by a series of broad tree-planted open public spaces.

The relatively long narrow plot running parallel to the station and railway line determined the program’s longitudinal plan. Length has been cleverly used to design articulated façades that mix solidity and transparency and create a luminous, easy-to-access floor plan with views onto the city outside. The main entrance is...

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