In 1955, the architect Le Corbusier was commissioned to design an arts and sports centre for the future neighbourhood of Firminy-Vert. The project was initiated by Eugène Claudius-Petit, the Mayor of Firminy and former Minister for Reconstruction of post-war France.
The Maison de la Culture was the first building in this complex to be completed. It was part of the nation-wide programme of Maison de la Culture arts centres launched by Minister of Culture André Malraux in 1961.
The Maison de la Culture in Firminy has a curved roof held by cables. Its slender profile hangs over the cliff of coaly sandstone.
The façades, which are glazed from east to west, are covered with “undulating glass panels”, which make up a musical score created by the composer and architect Iannis Xenakis. This glazing system is already used in the Monastery of Sainte-Marie de La Tourette (in the Rhône area), another of Le Corbusier’s works.
Restored from 2009 to 2013, the building is still used for its original purpose and is now the venue for a programme of cultural activities and events.
The Maison de la Culture arts centre is the only building on this site constructed during Le Corbusier’s lifetime, between 1960 and 1965. It has been a Listed Historic Monument since 1984. This living heritage of the 20th century pushes back the technical boundaries of architecture.