The meadows of Courtemautruy are more than just a location. They are the very heart of the project itself. Accordingly, the site will not be developed in the conventional sense of the word, and the landscape will not be marred in any way. On the contrary – the project will actually add a new and enhancing dimension to this already remarkable setting. Our plans envisage a structure consisting of three superimposed architectures: a sunken amphitheatre, a transparent foyer in the modernist tradition and a floating cupola in the spirit of the baroque dome.
A sunken socle in the style of the amphitheatre of Syracuse will be embedded into the landscape, housing the ground floor of the hall with facilities for staff, performers and technical equipment.
The upper part of the socle will form a diaphanous foyer providing a horizontal transitional space that offers maximum flexibility of use. The façade structure will blend subtly into the background, affording panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. For concert performances, the generously proportioned hall can be closed off by curtains, transforming the otherwise wide open space into an intimate and acoustically well insulated concert hall. The foyer, which also has a bar, extends onto an outdoor patio area with fine views of the Jura. It has a direct link with the delivery bay on the lower level. Three stairs lead to the three Rémy Zaugg Foyers on the upper level.
Most of the audience seating is set beneath a wooden cupola that hovers over the mineral plinth. The hexagonal geometry of the hall’s design allows maximum audience proximity to the stage, which forms the heart of the auditorium. This, in turn, ensures a closer rapport between the orchestra, the audience and the architecture, not only intensifying the audience’s experience of the architecture around them, but practically making the audience part of the architecture The edges of the hexagons are rounded to an ideal curvature that fully optimises the quality of the acoustics. This geometric approach also creates niches that can serve as balconies above the auditorium or, as in a baroque domed building, as sources of light. The combination of light and wood creates a warm and festive atmosphere. The form of the hall harmonises with the pyramid-shaped roof covered in scale-like extruded facings. The building as a whole forms a simple yet sophisticated volume that varies depending on the angle of view. The pyramid-shaped roof, redolent of the traditional Jura barn, sets a distinctive landmark in the surrounding countryside.
The Rémy Zaugg foyers
The three points of the pyramid house the exhibition spaces dedicated to the artist Rémy Zaugg. At the same time, these exhibition spaces also act as ambulatories leading to the balconies with their open views of the surrounding countryside. The base of the pyramid echoes Rémy Zaugg’s vision of the ‘cultural triangle’ that is about to become a reality between Courgenay, Ronchamp and Ornans.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2006