Aluzinc® and Indaten®: aesthetic solutions contribute to architectural beauty of Theatre D'Archipel Perpignan

A unique architectural project highlighting two of ArcelorMittal's aesthetic solutions: Aluzinc® coating and Indaten® weathering steel. The combination of these two steels shows how metallic diversity contributes to architectural beauty.

Detailed information

The city of Perpignan has dedicated nearly an acre along the banks of the river Tet, to the architectural complex for the performing arts: the Theatre d’Archipel is the new culture hotspot in the area.

It was the first time that a French cultural building was actually financed in a public – private partnership. As such, it hosts performances of all kinds – dance, music & theatre works, French, Catalan, Italian or Spanish ... always with the objective to promote the living art of the Mediterranean.

The architecture of the project is signed by Jean Nouvel in association with Brigitte Métra, both of whose reputations are well established in metal architecture. Their aims were to provide various forms and shapes to the six buildings that make up the art complex and their facades, a recurring image of familiar Catalan references.

The heart of this complex is the "Grand Salle", offering seats for 1.100 spectators. With the shape of a garnet- coloured river stone it is similar to those stones eploited for a long time in the Canigou mountain in the Pyrenees.

Just a  few meters away, we find the "Cage de scene", the cage stage, that lets history evoke – it reminds of the fortresses and castles of the Majorcan kings.

Façade and roof in steel: exceptional reflectivity of light

The other four buildings are completely covered with metal products. The rehearsal space, a workshop similar to the ones in the airline industry, takes the form of an arch and is covered with a double skin façade and roof (in one) with Aluzinc® coated steel sheets from Arval´s HACIERCO range (HACIERCO 3.333.39T). The silvery coating together with the waves created by Hacierco makes the building stand out due to its exceptional reflectivity of light. Furthermore, its "tunnel" form reminds of "the journey of creation."

Indaten®: change and creativity on façade

While the main tower for the dressing rooms and offices is dressed in a golden façade, as a reference to the Catalan coat of arms, the versatile " cration hall", with a capacity of 400 seats, is enveloped in Indaten® steel. This steel creates a protecting patina which makes its aspect change over time. That was the main reason it was chosen for, expressing change and creativity and thus achieving the unique aesthetics sought for in architectural procjects nowadays. Another advantage of Indaten® is its remarkable durability. There is no need for additional protection against corrosion, the patina assures absolute resistance. The surface aspect of the Indaten façade alludes to the iron mines that once brought fortune to the region.

The Indaten® is processed to MD Cassettes in different sizes (from the Arval product range), which have been specially developed for this kind of steel and the contraints it brings with it. The cassettes are slid one after the other in the vertical rails fixed to the wall through the metal brackets.

The last building in the Archipel theatre complex is the local logistics centre. It is entirely covered with posters that are fixed to an – again – metallic façade, made of flat galvanized steel sheets and traditional corrugated sheets. It is to be expected that the outer skin of this building’s façade is to change in the coming years.

All the 6 buildings are connected by a large canopy, unique in its kind, that creates a visual connection and underlines the fact that is is one common art center.

Project Information

  • Perpignan
  • France
  • 2008 - 2011
  • Architect:
    Ateliers Jean Nouvel & Brigitte Metra Associées
  • Client:
    Ville de Perpignan
  • Engineering Firm:
    Verdier (structure); Alto (Building services)
  • Contractors:
    AUXIFIP / AGIR (General); ROSSI (Indaten® Façade), STEREC NORD (Aluzinc® Roofing)
  • Photographer:
    ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat Products