Arteplage Murten-Morat

Architecture: Murten-Morat's grand entrance

Rather than creating an Arteplage in the usual sense of the word, the team headed by Parisian architect Jean Nouvel is transforming the Old Town of Murten-Morat, the lake and the long stretch of lakeshore into a ramified exhibition landscape and interspersing the town with a fine network of paths of discovery.

These paths lead past numerous mini-expos. Jean Nouvel's intention is not to invent a new exhibition world but to use the beautiful backdrop of Murten-Morat to stage a host of art installations. The architects envisage the lakeshore zone as a spacious beach, with a huge pile of tree trunks accommodating an exhibition, and a park consisting of a sand-cone landscape.

An extension of the landscape onto the water

The most spectacular object of the design is the Monolith on the lake, a seemingly unapproachable cube visible from all angles. It is a closed metal construction, a huge structure covered with rusted steel panels, which is accessible only by boat. The Monolith houses two spectacular panoramas: the historical Panorama of the Battle of Murten from 1894, 10.00 metres high and 100.00 metres long, which was restored specially for Expo.02; and a video panorama entitled Swiss Panorama Version 2 created by the Gruppe.panorama2000 team. This latter panorama is located on the lower floor and shows pictures from the young century, run and alienated by the computer, while the top floor of the Monolith accommodates the third panorama - spectacular views of the shore and the exhibition site seen through long horizontal windows.        

Architecture in the service of a place of beauty and reminiscence

The Jean Nouvel team's design is based on a simple principle which provides the answer to many problems: the decision to use what is already available - the beautiful medieval Old Town and its spectacular location on the lake - supplemented by a few temporary buildings when necessary. Thus Murten-Morat is transformed into a spacious, mystical artistic park that visitors can experience on a playful, intellectual or folkloristic stroll in the midst of a picturesque landscape.

In Murten-Morat, all that is installed is software: light tents, filigree corrugated roofs, colourful container towers and simple timber constructions make up the fleeting infrastructure. All in all, a rejection of the traditional architectural approach in favour of the staging of a dramatic place and landscape.

Concept, architecture and design
AJN Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Paris, France www,
Jean Nouvel (responsible for the project)
Frédérique Monjanel (project manager)
Eric Maria (project manager)
Sébastien Abribat (architect of the project)
Nicolaï Baehr (architect of the project)
Anna Cavepayre (architect of the project)
Thomas Corbasson (architect of the project)
Jean-Louis Courtois (model)
Partner: GIMM Gauer Itten Messerli Maria (new: Gauer Itten Messerli Architekten AG) (Daniel Messerli), Bern

Emch+Berger AG, Berne  

ducks scèno (Michel Cova), Lyon, France

Lighting design
Ingo Maurer, Munich, Germany

Landscape architecture
Desvigne and Dalnoky (Michel Desvigne, Christine Dalnoky), Paris, France

Signage and scenography
Intégral Concept Ruedi Baur et associés, Paris, France

Techdata AG, Bern

General contractor
Marti AG, Moosseedorf (Forum)
Nüssli Special Events AG, Hüttwilen (Monolith)
Nüssli Special Events AG, Hüttwilen (shells/superstructures)
Expen AG (Marie-Pierre Walliser-Klunge, Ulrich Wüger), Nidau (infrastructure)

Construction and project management
reinhardpartner Architekten und Planer AG, Bern