Built between 1961 and 1965, the cultural centre is the only building completed in Firminy during the architect lifetime. Its concept was derived from the programme created by the Culture Minister André Malraux (1960s) and is based on making “structures conveying human genius” and accessible to all.
This 112-metre long building is located on the former site of a coal-grit quarry and features an unusual appearance when viewed from outside : the roof is attached by means of a system of cables, giving it the appearance of an upturned vault. The bold slope of the western façade is put to good use inside the building, where it makes it possible for tiered seating to be installed.
The undulating glass panels situated along the eastern and western façades are the result of work carried out by Le Corbusier and the composer Iannis Xenakis, featuring a high degree of musical and
architectural harmony. The furniture present within the building was designed by Pierre Guariche, an architect and designer using the « Modulor », a unit of measurement introduced by Le Corbusier in order
to create harmony and proportions well adapted to our human scale.
The cultural centre features numerous rooms for different purposes including an auditorium, a performance room, a visual arts room, and a bodily expression room, etc.
Listed as a historical monument in 1984, it is still used for its original purpose as a performance and artistic creation venue, a community music school and an interpretation centre, etc.