Unveiled> Jean Nouvel’s Police Panopticon/Dance Studio

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
(Courtesy Jean Nouvel)

(Courtesy Jean Nouvel)

It is unclear whether the newest Jean Nouvel project in Charleroi, Belgium is the first of the hybrid Police Headquarters/Dance Studio typology, but we would guess that it is. The collaboration between Paris-based Atelier Jean Nouvel and the Belgian firm MDW Architecture was selected in a competition and resulted in a scheme for a 246-foot tower and renovation of 19th century brick barracks.

(Courtesy Jean Nouvel)

(Courtesy Jean Nouvel)

The tower is elliptical in plan and clad in blue brick, tapering as it rises above the buildings below, two of which, along with the new panopticon-like structure, will house the police headquarters. A dance studio and cultural venue for street artists is situated below the police station in the blue tower. The entire project sits on a brownfield.

The striking profile of the tower, which will glow at night, acts as a monument in the center of a plaza. But it appears to stand in sharp contrast with the surrounding village and have little relationship buildings adjacent to it.  While the height and compact footprint of the tower provides for a substantial public plaza at its base,  we hope the image of a sleek police tower looming above a small village is not symbolic.

(Courtesy Jean Nouvel)

(Courtesy Jean Nouvel)

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