Participation in the exclusive international competition for the creation of the International Centre for Parietal Art, known as Lascaux IV.
The project is part of the Vézère valley, named ‘Valley of Man’ thanks to its wealth of prehistoric deposits. The Lascaux cave, located on the hill of the same name, near the village of Montignac, represents the most emblematic of the region's prehistoric sites. It is located at the foot of the hill.
A mineral mass emerges from the ground
At the foot of the hill
Antiquated and contemporary architecture
A second Lascaux whose animated fragments reveal myths
"... But a sensible man would remember that there are two distinct disturbances of the eyes arising from two causes, according as the shift is from light to darkness or from darkness to light".
Plato ‘Allegory of the Cave’, The Republic, Book VII
A gentle slope leads us towards the interior of the earth, and our eyes gradually become accustomed to the darkness.
We are inside... Our only contact with the outside is the very close presence of the hill, an immutable mass that holds the treasure inside. And then there is the wood and, more vaguely, the sky.
The rock offers its luminous breach as if it were an invitation. We are told to come in. Live the real story. That of the most spiritual discovery of our century. As a preamble, a long descent bordered by a mutant landscape leads us to the entrance of the cave, under the taiga of the ice age.
The cave offers itself to us. It illuminates the timeless beauty of its relief-like silhouettes with a trembling glow as we walk through it, only to fade away behind us.
As we leave the cave, our shadows come and go in an upward movement towards the light. A little further on, the sun guides our steps to the next level.
Up there, it is another Lascaux; The one that reveals its walls in monolithic figures facing the landscapes of yesterday and today; the one that is given to understand, that invites you to live the experience, to make the right gesture; the one that shows you what is hidden and reveals its secret. It tells you about its story made up of enigmas that mankind tries to solve. It tells you that there are people who think, prove, suppose and interpret. Just next door, their virtual doubles welcome you in small theatres dug into the ground, facing the hill. Here the staging borrows a poetic dialogue between archaic matter and technological immateriality. It prolongs the virtuoso gesture of the anonymous artist.
To build this architecture, the earth has to be dug delicately, leaning carefully on the hill, the walls have to be erected with power and the floors have to be thickly laid. We think of these operations with a primary logic, both archaic and contemporary. One touches the ground attentively, letting the water from the aquifer pass through it. The walls and structures are right, simple, and specific to the use of the spaces: they have a tectonic presence.
From the outside, the building expresses a telluric force. Its minerality is similar to that of the Château, or the bridge over the Dordogne.
Transmitting the emotion of Lascaux, the close presence of what is distant and elusive, is the object of the space. Here, "We must read the past as a future to be discovered".
New construction and museography of the International Centre for Parietal Art, known as Lascaux IV in Montignac (24). Educational centre, fast-food restaurant, shop, reception, operation and management.
8 000 m²
6,5 ha (outdoor)
Josep Lluis Mateo, architect (project manager)
Projectiles, architect + scenographer (associate)
Setec, engineering all trade
General Council of the Dordogne