The historic Beuzeville cider house, now converted into a cultural centre
Beuzeville, in the heart of Normandy (France), stands out for its privileged strategic location and excellent communications. Recently, as part of a complex urban requalification and revitalisation project for the historic centre, the former cider and grain mill building has been renovated and converted into a multi-purpose cultural centre.
The architectural firm Sunmetron, in charge of the project and advised by a local historian, took into account the building’s significant past to carry out its remodelling. The building, which dates its construction to 1833, housed one of the first and most important cider factories in the Eure department, the Lemmonier cider factory. Later, in 1953, the building was converted into a grain mill, but after more than 50 years of activity, the building fell into disuse.
The municipality council, taking into account the great potential of the building and its historical background, decided to acquire it in 2015 to convert it into a cultural centre. The former cider factory was restored in the Normandy architectural style, but with a modern look in its renovation and layout. Thus, the building was divided into three levels: the basement, where the exhibition rooms and the museum are located; the main floor, with an auditorium and a room known as the “masks room”; and the upper floor where the covered foyer is located and where weekly markets and fairs are held.
The auditorium, equipped with Figueras seats, is located where the grain from the old factory was originally stored. The walls of this space are clad with an elegant finish in wood recovered from old pallets, providing excellent acoustic qualities to the hall and preserving the genuine character of the cider factory.
This ambitious project has succeeded in revitalising local commerce and reinforcing the cultural programme of this small French town.
Challenges of the project
One of the main objectives of those responsible for the project was the conservation of the different architectural elements such as the silo, converted into an exhibition space, and the vats where the cider was stored, now converted into ornamental elements in the form of circular silhouettes that give their name to one of the rooms of the building known as the “room of the masks”. By preserving these elements, the current cultural centre reflects the industrial and artisanal past of the village of Beuzeville.
Concerning the auditorium, the biggest challenge was to install a seating model that would not aesthetically break with the industrial air of the space but would be functional and ergonomic at the same time, suitable for all types of events. In addition, both the seats themselves and their layout had to comply with current regulations.
The auditorium, with a capacity of 140 people, is used for shows, concerts, screenings, and conferences. In order to achieve optimum accessibility, groups of removable seats were installed so that they could be assembled or disassembled as required and to ensure access for people with reduced mobility. The planning and installation of the seats were also carried out respecting sufficient space between rows to allow users to circulate without difficulty and to clear the hall in an orderly manner in the event of an emergency.
The model of seat chosen to equip this space was the Scala de Figueras, a seat that stands out for its simple, well-defined geometric shapes and for providing maximum comfort and versatility. In addition, a lectern was integrated into the side panel, offering optimal functionality during conferences and work sessions. The Scala has wood finishes that provide excellent acoustic response at any type of event. This chair complies with the UNE-EN ISO 14006:2011 eco-design standard, ensuring a minimum impact on the environment.