Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, congratulates the group International Arts Campus whose project has been selected to carry out the requalification of the district of Héronnières and its immediate environment, at the end of the call for projects launched at the end of 2018 by the public establishment of the castle of Fontainebleau.

This first-class heritage complex, built under the reign of Louis XV by architect Gabriel to house the King’s Great Fur Barn, was assigned to the War Ministry at the end of the Second Empire and substantially modified to meet the new uses of the place. Occupied by the Ministry of Defence until 2001, he was transferred to the Ministry of Culture and then transferred to the national domain of Fontainebleau in 2006. It has been listed as a historic monument since 2008.

This district consists of 11 buildings forming a quadrilateral surrounding a central building with a built area of approximately 12,000 m2. It is located on the south-eastern fringe of the national domain, adjoins to the south-west the state forest and, to the east, the military grounds of the Clos des Ebats. Unoccupied because the buildings did not correspond to any need, present or future of the castle, subjected to acts of vandalism, deteriorated greatly, seriously compromising their protection. Pending their restoration, emergency measures to secure them and put them out of the water and out of the air were taken between 2014 and 2015.

The goal of the establishment was to revitalize this neighbourhood through a project led by private investors who would save it from ruin by installing activities respectful of its heritage setting and the place it occupies within the estate.

After an ad hoc procedure consisting of two successive phases consisting of a call for ideas followed by a call for projects, the project carried out by the International Arts Campus consortium was selected.

Innovative, respectful of heritage and its environment, and economically viable, this project consists of making Héronnières the heart of an international campus of excellence dedicated to the arts, design and cultural management. Interdisciplinary and intercultural, it will be a unique hub for teaching and learning, co-creation and innovation. Starting in 2025, if the work schedule allows, it will welcome some 10,000 students each year over different cycles, including 3,000 simultaneously. With a Master’s degree, these students will come from foreign universities located on all continents. The campus will also offer academies of excellence and host a residency of artists and cultural startups.

The International Arts Campus project is supported by a consortium of the SAS International Arts Campus, architects Francis Metzger (Agence MA2, Brussels) and Christian Marina (Agence MPA, Paris), the company specializing in historical monuments Pradeau-Morin (Eiffage Group), the manufacturer-promoter Pitch (Altaréa Cogedim Group), educational, cultural and artistic partners as well as professionals from the cultural and creative industries sector.

The Public Institution will now enter into exclusive negotiations with International Arts Campus with the objective of finalizing before the end of the first semester of next year the agreement entrusting it with the task of managing the Heronnières for 70 years.

The Minister of Culture welcomes this conversion of an emblematic element of the State’s heritage, which is exemplary in its scope, in the care with which it has been conducted by involving all interested parties, and finally in the quality of the project selected.