Le FRAC/AP2 à Dunkerque, 2013 © Philippe Ruault
On 16 November 2013, the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais opened the doors of its new building to the public. Facing the North Sea on the historic site of the former Chantiers Navals de France shipbuilding yards in Dunkirk, this building with its bold architecture, designed by the architects Lacaton & Vassal, gives the Frac an opportunity to cast anchor in a key site of Dunkirk’s industrial heritage and enjoy greater visibility throughout the Nord-Pas de Calais region and the Euro-region.
By choosing to establish Frac Nord-Pas de Calais in Dunkirk in 1996, the regional authorities in Nord-Pas de Calais demonstrated their desire to make the region an area of enriching and amazing artistic and cultural experiences, where local development is generated by powerful and ambitious cultural activities, as illustrated by Dunkerque 2013, Capitale régionale de la culture.
The inauguration of Frac Nord-Pas de Calais, which also coincided with the thirty-year anniversary of the country’s Fonds régionaux d’art contemporain, enabled the Frac and its partners to pay tribute to the history of the Chantiers Navals de France and to all those who sustained the shipyards for nearly 90 years. It was an opportunity to strengthen more than ever before the bond and attachment the city and region have to this site.
By building a translucent twin to the historic Prefabrication Workshop no. 2 (AP2), the architects Lacaton & Vassal have designed for the Frac a unique site, funded by the Communauté urbaine de Dunkerque, the contracting authority for the work, and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, the Région Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the European Union.
With exactly the same volume, the same dimensions on the ground and the same height as the AP2, but with a lighter and more contemporary architecture, the new Frac Nord-Pas de Calais building has six levels for exhibitions, work spaces and meeting areas where everyone is invited to experience an encounter with contemporary art. This new site, with a total surface area of more than 9,000 sq. m., makes it possible for the Frac to welcome the public and to develop its on-site exhibition programme and outreach activities and to strengthen its off-site activities.
Support for FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais comes from the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication/Direction générale de la création artistique, the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles Nord-Pas de Calais, the Conseil Régional Nord-Pas de Calais, the Dunkerque Grand Littoral/Communauté urbaine, the Ville de Dunkerque, the Conseil Général du Nord, the Conseil Général du Pas-de-Calais and the Rectorat de l’Académie de Lille.
Download the educational record: The architecture of the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais (PDF)
Download The Frac, a unique place in Europe (FR, EN, NL)
Download The Frac, a unique place in Europe (EN, CN, JP)