Swiss architecture firm Atelier Archiplein, renowned for its commitment to sustainable architecture and development from both an environmental and cultural perspective, presented the Alpex Cultural Centre in Scionzier, a town in the Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France.

The project involved the refurbishment of a former machining factory, with the firm commissioned to extend and convert the building into a new cultural centre, forming part of a broader master plan to renovate and revitalize the heart of Scionzier.

In association with (MAW) scenographer, Atelier Archiplein was commissioned to undertake all aspects of the project, which involved the resolution of sensitive issues inherent in the major transformation of a building designated as a local heritage site.

In the initial stages of the project, a detailed heritage diagnosis was conducted and revealed an original color palette associated with the historic past of the building.

The original structure included shades of green, red, and yellow, all of which the firm embraced in restoring the existing façades of the building.

The riverside façade was the only original façade visible to the surrounding community at that time, and the emergence of the retro color palette was embraced by local inhabitants during the refurbishment.

A large, open space between the new cultural centre and the Scionzier Town Hall building presented an opportunity to convert the structure’s existing gable façade into a main façade that closes off a newly constructed town square.

Using locally-sourced Hauteville stone, Atelier Archiplein designed an expansive colonnade entry porch that reshaped the façade into a new entranceway, signalling the importance and prestige of the building’s new public function.

Extracted from a site located less than 100 km from Scionzier, the use of Hauteville stone reflects Atelier Archiplein’s commitment to using natural, locally-procured materials whenever possible.

Completion of the Alpex Cultural Centre marks the latest contribution to a series of solid-stone projects in the region which Atelier Archiplein have been involved in over the past several years.

The completed Alpex Cultural Centre offers great flexibility, with radiant, eye-catching beauty defining the service areas of its two main exhibition rooms.

Low-arched bays infuse the space with natural light, providing greater flexibility in terms of its potential uses.

Sliding along the full length of the structure, the building’s new extension houses a temporary exhibition room.

The extension’s saw-tooth roof delivers a further abundance of natural light and is the only element of the design that is visibly exposed to the town square.

Alpex Cultural Centre
Project Specifications

Architects: Atelier Archiplein, Francis Jacquier and Marlène Leroux
Client: Municipality of Scionzier
Type: Renovation – extension
MOE: MAW scenography, Arnaud Economist, Plantier Structure, Berger CVSE
Location:  Scionzier, Haute-Savoie, France
Area: 900 m2
Date: 2017 – 2021

Photography: Aurélien Poulat