Paris-based architecture firm Jakob + Macfarlane has finally opened the Frac Center in Orléans, France, after winning a 2005 competition to renovate the existing buildings of the Substances Militaires, a former army depot, and building an extension which would serve as a beacon for potential visitors. The innovative new structure, nicknamed "The Turbulences" for its dynamic design, was completed in 2012 but only opened in September, along with the renovated Substances Militaires.
“The extension designed by the architects Jakob + MacFarlane in collaboration with the artists of Electronic Shadow fully resonates with the spirit of experimentation that is the hallmark of Frac Center’s engagement,” says Marie-Ange Brayer, director of the Frac Center. The distinctive design, developed as the extrusion of the grid of the existing buildings, is based on the principles of emergence and parametric deformation.
With over 32,000 square feet, the new venue “will make it possible to increase the number and breadth of cultural activities and to welcome a much wider public,” says Brayer. “These new facilities will serve most importantly as tools and as catalyzers of new cultural activities. The Frac Centre will thus be able to improve its visibility on a regional, national and international scale.”
Since the 1990s the organization’s mission has been to develop a collection combining contemporary art and architecture in order to support creation and encourage public awareness. Today the collection includes 1,500 artworks and architectural models as well as 15,000 drawings, and rivals the world’s greatest architectural collections including MoMA and the Centre Pompidou. It has been a significant champion of experimental architecture and has supported the development of numerous influential and radical projects.