The Richard Rogers’ Drawing Gallery, France

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Château La Coste, a 500-acre area of outstanding natural beauty is an internationally renowned destination for art and architecture. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) with Château La Coste completed Richard Rogers’ final work which begun before his retirement from practice in June 2020.

 

In 2011, Richard was invited to choose a place in the landscape that spoke directly to him and was given the freedom to design a gallery that would live there. The remote and unusual location selected required a bespoke design and fabrication. Designed to have the lightest of touches on the area and its ecology, the building cantilevers out 27-metres to a point 18-meter above the heavily wooded site. Its delicate joints and expressed elements support the lightweight extruded gallery, clad in naturally finished satin steel, softly mirroring the surrounding landscape.

 

The external orange steel beams taper as the construction floats outwards into mid-airwhere the building touches the ground, it does so subtly, belying the robust engineering below ground that supports the structure from just one end. Industrial in nature but with elegant, handcrafted details, the building is itself a sculpture in this landscape.

 

One leaves the terra firma of the old Roman track and transition across a lightweight bridge to the cantilevering gallery. Walking through the support structure it is here where the visitor experiences a sensation of almost floating. The gallery’s single rectangular room frames a view of the landscape through the 5x4m opening at its furthest end, beyond extends a terrace, above which the eaves gently jut out buffering the light between inside and out.The physics of the building, cantilevering as it is in combination with the region’s seismic activity, requires bridge type engineering and construction techniques. The building and its materials needed to be flexible. The cables at the entrance that ground the structure contract and expand, sensitive even to the local climate’s fluctuating temperatures. The poured resin gallery floor flexes in harmony with the structure.

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