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Mountain house


mission new construction – competition
client Facilities office, Pays de l’Adour
project manager CoCo architecture, MORe, Laumond Faure
date 2010
footprint 1650m²
price 2,2€ excl. taxes
location Pau (64)

The mountain and culture house is new community complex for the city of Pau. It is a series of spaces for associations and vendors sharing the same passion for the mountains. The programme consists of two shops, the Artists of the Mountain and the Vendors of the Mountain, the youth and culture centre (MJC) for the neighbourhood, as well as three associations: the House of the Mountain, the Friends of the Pyrenees park and a family services branch (CAF) of Pau. These entities become the defined spaces within the building, while a resource centre, assembly and exhibition spaces rest alongside them.

This new public building is a place of possibilities, located in a disadvantaged area itwill become a bridge between the mountains and local inhabitants.

The project feeds on imagination, with the surrounding mountains as its muse. It is a place of refuge and resources for its visitors, for both everyday life and for the extraordinary. The establishment is a meeting place, to socialise and learn in an engaging and interactive environment.

These objectives have created an iconic, playful and functional building. It hosts the different entities around an internal vertical circulation and an exterior path similar to a mountain trail.

At street level, the building integrates into the existing urban fabric. However, as the building progresses through site it gradually morphs from building to nature. At the rear the building joins the ground. From an urban façade to a landscape façade, the building connects to larger green corridor within the neighbourhood.Through this change of state, the building reveals itself as a landscape, as an inhabited mountain, to travel, climb and live on.

The back part by the building provides users with additional activities: a tiered area for outdoor shows and a series of planted terraces accessible from all floors of the building.

The interior of the building is organised around a full height corridor containing a staircase ‘trail’, as the social and visual link between all the other entities of the building. Generously sized, the different landings within this space are places of social interaction.