Istres - The Clear Hours Educational and Cultural Centre
- department: Bouches-du-Rhône
- Municipality: Istres
- naming: Les Heures Claires Educational and Cultural Centre
- address : avenue Radolfzell
- authors: Atelier de MONTROUGE (Pierre Riboulet, Gérard Thurnauer, Jean-Louis Véret, architects), Henri FAURE-LADREYT (execution architect)
- date: 1970-1977
- protection: unprotected building
- label patrimoine XXe: Commission régionale du patrimoine et des sites (CRPS) du 15 March 2007
"The Montrouge workshop was created in November 1958 by Pierre Riboulet (1928-2003), Gérard Thurnauer (born 1926), Jean-Louis Véret (born 1927) and Jean Renaudie (1925-1981), who left the workshop in 1968. A graduate of the Beaux-Arts, they have worked closely with leading figures of the modern movement and the Ciam (such as Le Corbusier, Michel Ecochard and Jean Prouvé). They are part of a new generation that, on an international scale, stands out for its desire to rethink modernity on new bases, taking into account the social dimension of housing, history and the spirit of time"(City of Architecture and Heritage).
Between 1967 and 1970, the industrial area of Fos-sur-Mer gradually took shape: this changed the geographical and human landscape, in particular because of the arrival on site of 20 to 30,000 workers, not to mention the influx of workers from Lorraine and Savoie. The lack of social, cultural and educational facilities led the municipality to acquire 12 hectares of land on the plateau of Hours Clair, 1.5 km from the old town, in order to create a college and a "cultural and educational centre".
The ambitious programme is supported by the State and will be divided into many sections of work. The first project, in 1971, was the college, followed in the same year by the library and the Maison pour tous. Since then, additional facilities have been added: an airy centre and a sports centre in 1972; a social centre, the employment agency, a dispensary and a daycare centre in 1974; a theatre in 1976, the Maison de la Danse in 1988, the Conservatory of Music and Dance in 2000, etc.
'So the CEF looks like a whole, with a central street leading to the cliff. The buildings have only one floor with accessible terraces, meadows, porches, meeting places. There is no imposed entrance, it is first of all an open place, to which one accesses from all its periphery. The composition is in the form of a T. At the meeting of the two axes, are placed the most animated equipments: the restaurant, the House for all, the gymnasium. Stumps on the ground or in height keep a few trees and avoid the monotony of uniform bars".
The basic principles of this construction adopting the logic of the "meshes" are the decompartmentalization and the versatility of the premises: the center was from its origin intended to expand progressively what allowed the technique used, developed by GEEP Industries (Paul Chaslin): the principle is that of prefabricated elements very easily assembled. The constructions have a metal frame, the floors are reinforced concrete, the aluminum roof ribbed and the facades are curtain walls. The CEC of Istres perfectly illustrates the thinking of the Atelier de Montrouge and is a reference for the design of other integrated ensemble projects.
- Editors: Eve Roy, Sylvie Denante, drac paca crmh, 2008
- Source: Fraissenet Gérard, Mejean Alain, CEC, 30 ans de vie, CEC Développement, Istres, 2000