Angers Cathedral dates back to 12th century. It is renowned for its extensive collection of stained glass windows, including the transept’s window, considered to be a masterpiece of French 13th century glasswork. Kengo Kuma has released images, showing architectural intervention, to protect the western portal of the church, containing polychromatic sculptures from 12th and 17th century.
The challenge for the studio was to create a harmonious dialogue between the contemporary intervention and the Romanesque and Gothic architecture of the church.
“We wanted to put ourselves in the shoes of the builders of the Middle Ages and to create a regulatory framework, using compasses, thus generating the proportions which lead to unity,” said Kengo Kuma.
The studio has created a regulatory framework, using compasses, to create precious proportions where the new portal has the same design language as the Romanesque portal of the west front. Incorporating finest stone processes in stereotomy, the resulting descriptive geometry is refined and frees itself from the thick walls of the cathedral.
Kuma’s design intervention is only 147 square metres in size but leaves a big impact for the future of the church. The technical process used provides the church with a contemporary entrance archway which will help draw the visitors in, as well as prolong the life of the original structure.
Project Name: Réalisation d’un ouvrage de protection du portail occidental de la Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d’Angers, France
Timeline: 2020 – 2024
Project Size: 147m2
Project team: Chizuko Kawarada, Elise Fauquembergue, Carla Beaujard, Hiromichi Kamiya
Heritage architect: Vincent Brunelle, Martin Brunelle
General Engineering, Quantity surveyor: BETEM Atlantique- Jean-François Renaud, Boris Rombolotto
Lighting designer: 8’18’’ concepteurs et plasticiens lumière- Emmanuelle Sebie, Line Muckensturm
Images(exterior): Kengo Kuma & Associates – image by l’autreimage
Images(interior): Kengo Kuma & Associates – image by Kengo Kuma & Associates
Kengo Kuma was born in 1954. He established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990. He is currently a University Professor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo after teaching at Keio University and the University of Tokyo. Numerous KKAA projects are underway in Japan and abroad. Kengo Kuma proposes architecture that opens up new relationships between nature, technology, and human beings. His major publications include Point and Line to Plane (Iwanami Shoten), Hito no Sumika (Shelters for People) (Shincho Sensho), Makeru Kenchiku (Defeated Architecture) (Iwanami Shoten), Shizen na Kenchiku (Natural Architecture, Iwanami Shinsho), Chii-sana Kenchiku (Small Architecture) (Iwanami Shinsho) and many others.