SO-IL and Freaks to redesign historic glass factory site

by Tom Anstey | 25 Feb 2015

SO-IL and Freaks Freearchitects have jointly won an architectural competition to redesign a glass museum and gallery on the site of an 18th century factory in Meisenthal, France.

New York-based SO-IL is collaborating with Paris-based Freaks to give the Site Verrier Meisenthal – first opened in 1704 – a complete makeover. Renovations of the former glass factory will include a new cultural centre, glass art centre and glass gallery.

According to SO-IL, the design is a pliable concrete “tapestry”, which has been designed to establish new links between the various activities on the 5,000sq m (53,800sq ft) site while creating a central plaza for the Meisenthal. This new public space looks to re-establish the prominence of the historical site and will introduce a space to host a variety of events such as performances, outdoor theater, festivals and a Christmas market.

The Cadhame – a multidisciplinary cultural space hosting art installations, events and concerts – will come up in the former glass factory, while the glass museum will look at the history of glass at the site. Finally, the CIAV – the International Glass Art Centre – will be used for glass creation using traditional craftsmanship and contemporary practices. The site will also introduce a reconfigurable 500-seat black box theatre, art storage, new office facilities, workshop areas, classrooms, a café and a restaurant.

“At this new multidisciplinary centre, visitors will experience contemporary art events together with insights in the rich history of glassmaking,” said Ilias Papageorgiou, partner at SO-IL. “We are very excited about working with a great team of individuals on our first project in France, which will allow us to expand our work on culturally significant projects around the world.”

The factory produced utility glassware as well as hand-blown Christmas tree baubles until its closure in 1969. It reopened as the Meisenthal Glass Museum in 1978, while a former workshop on the site was converted into the International Glass Art Centre (CIAV) in 1992. The phased redevelopment starts this year and is expected to be completed in 2022.

SO-IL and Freaks Freearchitects have jointly won an architectural competition to redesign a glass museum and gallery on the site of an 18th century factory in Meisenthal, France. New York-based SO-IL is collaborating with Paris-based Freaks to give the Site Verrier Meisenthal – first opened in 1704 – a complete makeover. Renovations of the former glass factory will include a new cultural centre, glass art centre and glass gallery. According
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The plans are formed around a pliable concrete “tapestry”, which has been designed to establish new links between the various activities on-site / SO-IL
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