On 21 November 2013, the city of Liege announced the winners of the year's Prix de l’Urbanisme. Our research for the Amphithéâtres Opéra, which opened last September, received recognition in the "Accessibility" category.
Our team took particular care with the building's external and internal accessibility. The former movie theatre complex had been closed for a decade, as it no longer complied with accessibility codes. Working with Benjamin Kinable from AccessPlus, we went beyond mere compliance with current standards, as seen in the special lighting for the visually impaired and audio induction loops for the hard of hearing. We also carefully examined ways to redefine the interstitial spaces, which were designed as corridors, but also as open areas that can be adapted for multiple uses, including gatherings, relaxation and study. Links with the exterior, particularly via the addition of large balconies, contributed to this. Our work with Brussels-based artist Jean Glibert took a similar approach. Bearing in mind such practical aspects as entrance signage, Gilbert designed a colour scheme in which the grey-toned lecture halls and hallways were intercut with virtual parallelepipeds that were coloured a vivid shade of red.
We feel honored to have been awarded this prize, and are pleased to have been a part of the 20th edition of the Prix de l’Urbanisme. This is all the more true given that our work on the Kempart loft came in second place in the "People's Choice" category, having garnered more than 10% of votes cast.