For over fifty years, with its thousand offices and sixty-one recording studios, the Maison de la Radio is a landmark within the urban landscape along the Seine and remains the most important public news service production centre. Also a performance venue, it is known for its concerts in Studio 104 (Olivier Messiaen Hall) but also for its live programmes in Studios 105 and 106.
The construction of a new hall will fit coherently into the overall plan at the intersection of the new public areas that take advantage of the vast, glazed foyers that open onto the Seine.
The design adapted to the limited space by developing a vertical volume where balconies are superimposed. The 1461 auditorium seats are distributed around the orchestra in small blocks, bringing the audience close to the stage in proximity to the orchestra, with the furthest distance between them being about 17m.
The walls are broken down into many facets of several timber species (beech, birch, cherry) used in the moulding composition of the different planes whose geometry and linings were edited by the renowned acoustics engineer Yasu Toyota of Nagata Acoustics. Comparable in size to the largest contemporary international venues (22m wide and 15m deep), the stage is composed of 18 modular lift tables able to accommodate 120 musicians and adapt to various orchestra configurations. In the form of an oval lens, a «canopy», large timber acoustic reflector, is suspended at 14.50 metres above the stage and deflects the sound to the musicians and audience.
To effectively connect the centre of the building to its periphery, a unifying, common space, the agora is located within the courtyard of the inner-ring and covered with a glazed canopy. It includes a space for temporary exhibitions, a cafeteria and an open radio studio and connects to the existing grand hall by a «nave», installed within the space created by the demolition of the former Studio 103. In addition to this new internal street, there are four new glazed 32 metre-long footbridges connect the outer and inner rings on the fifth floor.
The building is staged within a large garden through the creation of a 700-place underground car park.
The rehabilitated Studio 104 –Olivier Messiaen Hall with a 840-seat capacity has a choir stall that replaces the original organ stand, new reflectors and acoustic curtains improving its acoustics and a completely redesigned floor and seating.
The tower has been converted into large workspaces with new offices and meeting rooms at half-level, while the broadcasting studios (including the France Inter and France Info) are redesigned as boxes within the box for acoustic purposes.
The revitalization of the Maison de la Radio use and image will cost in total 241,5 Million euros and is to be completed in 2017, giving this conserved symbol a new lease of life.
Design by: AS.Architecture-Studio
Photos by: AS.Architecture-Studio / ADAGP / Luc Boegly