The Cité de la musique et de la danse was designed by Paris-based architect Henri Gaudin and opened in May 2006. Located on the edge of the bassin d'Austerlitz, it is right next to the André Malraux media library and the city archives.
The building itself occupies a land area of 5218 m², and its interior covers a net area of 14,079 m², with 8,857 m² for its facilities. The difference between the two figures is down to the large number of terraces and internal courtyards.
Gaudin saw the building as a community within a community, built around the two patios, with light brought in through the vast glazed areas. The architecture was partly inspired by the soaring spire of the Cathedral and also by the nearby water. The building materials and colours were carefully chosen to fit in with the urban and architectural environment.
The Cité's central part rises over six floors and its features include:
- in the basement: utility areas and private parking for 50 cars
- at ground level:
- an auditorium with 500 seats, with a mechanised pit, a total surface area of 640 m² (room: 390 m2; stage: 250 m2 ; proscenium: 17 m ; stage depth: 10 to 13 m depending on the proscenium)
- an organ room, S'instrument,seating 50 was designed by Henri Gaudin, and built by Manufacture Mulheisen
- the café-restaurant of the Conservatoire
- the offices of Musica, the International Festival of contemporary music
- the great rooms for rehearsals and for the public
- on the first level:
- the Conservatoire's administrative offices
- the library
- the studio for teaching, recording and production,
- the Pôle Alsace for higher education in the arts
- on the fourth level: four large dance studios
- the classrooms (about 100) are spread over the first, second and third levels.
Henri Gaudin, architect
Henri Gaudin was born in Paris in 1933 and grew up in La Rochelle. Two-time winner of the Equerre d'Argent, in 1986 for the social housing he designed in Evry-Courcouronnes (Essonne) and in 1994 for the Charléty Stadium in Paris, in 1994, he was also awarded the gold medal of the French Academy of Architecture. Gaudin became an architect of the age of 33, but his first job was as a merchant seaman, whence his great attachment to the sea and ports.