Transformation of the old chapel of the Ursulines Convent
The program is structured and divided into four entities. One of them is accessible to the public: the space of the ground floor and the library on the first floor, the other three being dedicated to scientific staff and restoration, management, logistics and storage spaces (six levels).
L’Artothèque is the new storage and conservation tool for the heritage of the city of Mons. The history of the Ursulines chapel is combined with the works that are conserved, half way between restoration and reinterpretation. Stretched between steel and cracked stones, l’Artothèque is defined as a journey rather than an object.
The Chapel of the former Ursulines Convent is a remarkable example of classical architecture from the early eighteenth century. Listed as patrimony, it was transformed and deprived of its original interior space after the Second World War.
The presence of concrete floors, that destroyed the monument, is turned into an opportunity: from a commonly damaged monument, the chapel becomes a place of conservation for works of art, with an envelope of heritage value.
The main options that determined the interior design lie in the creation of a vertical “fault”, opening to the height and length of the former nave, and freeing the vision on the ground floor. We can now apprehend the three dimensions of the original interior of the chapel, where the volume of the precious storage fits.
Inside the chapel, the public enters the lobby area. Its scenography confronts digital technologies, allowing virtual consultation of the works, with glass cases containing the actual works.