The Alpex Cultural Centre converts a factory into a community center


With a mission to revitalize the area, the Alpex Cultural Centre is a project that transformed a former machining factory in France for modern use. Throughout the process, firm Atelier Archiplein, in collaboration with (MAW) scenographer, focused on a commitment to honor the planet and the cultural perspective.

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Located in Scionzier, a town in the Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France, the building was extended and converted into a cultural center for community use, while earning designation as a local heritage site. One of the primary goals for the project was to honor the heritage of the building. Research on the site uncovered the original color palette, which the team reconstructed through the use of shades of green, red and yellow on the facade.

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old white gabled building in mountainous landscape
white building with gable roof and reflective facade panels

In order to connect the project to the Scionzier Town Hall building and newly constructed town square, the project converted an existing gabled exterior into an expansive colonnade that created an entryway and a statement about using natural materials, such as locally sourced Hauteville stone. The pillars also created a contrast to the heart of the building behind it, which speaks to its history as a factory with a dark roof that stands out against the light exterior.

people standing inside white room with wood floors
large white room with blue-framed windows

Inside, natural light floods the two main exhibition rooms of the now-completed Alpex Cultural Centre, and an open floor plan provides space for a range of community uses. A neutral color palette avoids distracting from the exposed beam architectural supports and eye-catching windows that line the space.

long white room with pitched ceiling and exposed structural beams
people talking on patio

The Alpex Cultural Centre is one of many preservation projects by Atelier Archiplein. “The firm is proud of its responsible posture in respect to sustainable development, environmental impact, and historical context,” the architects said. “Those issues play an important role in influencing the firm’s contemporary interventions in the built environment, which are driven by a methodology that has proven itself time and again over more than a decade of practice in Europe and Asia.”

+ Atelier Archiplein

Photography by Aurélien Poulat via Atelier Archiplein

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