“Site Verrier” Cultural Center | The Plan
  1. Home
  2. Magazine 2022
  3. The Plan 137
  4. “Site Verrier” Cultural Center

“Site Verrier” Cultural Center

From Glassworks to Cultural Phenomenon

SO - IL | FREAKS

“Site Verrier” Cultural Center
By Elisa Grossi -

A soft, poured-in-place concrete volume embracing a series of buildings scattered around an open space to form a consistent, organic urban entity. This was the underlying concept behind the redevelopment project of the former glass factory Site Verrier de Meisenthal by New York-based SO – IL, in partnership with Parisian colleagues from Freaks. Located in a small village in the Vosges mountains of northeastern France, the glass factory was founded at the beginning of the 18th century and continued in operation until 1969. Although closure marked the end of an era, the facilities were not disbanded but reopened in the 1970s as an exhibition center at the initiative of the Association des Amis de la Maison du Verre. This cultural thrust was consolidated with the establishment of three institutions: the Musée du Verre et du Cristal, telling the story of how glass production came to the little village of Meisenthal; the Centre International d’Art Verrier (CIAV), promoting the safeguard and furtherance of glass craftsmanship; and the Halle Verrière, a flexible space for exhibitions, events and shows managed by the association Cadhame.

SO – IL and Freaks’ joint submission for the overhaul of the former industrial site turned cultural center won the international competition called a few years ago by the Communauté de Communes du Pays de Bitche, which received over 180 design submissions. Started by two glassblower brothers in the early 18th century when glassmakers still led nomadic lives, going from place to place in search of the raw materials needed for their trade, the original factory guaranteed the livelihood of this tiny mountain community. In the second half of the 19th century, master glassmaker émile Gallé made Meisenthal and its pool of local craftsmen an industrial hub, especially of Art Nouveau-style production. By the 1920s, the factory employed hundreds...

Proceed with your preferred purchase option to continue reading
Digital

Digital

4.49 €
Print

Print

15.00 €
Subscription

Subscription

From 35.00 €
Keep up with the latest trends in the architecture and design world

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054