Parc des Ateliers
- End of 1st century BC: construction of the Roman Theatre of Arles. First traces of the Alyscamps necropolis.
- 80-90 AD: building of the Arles Amphitheatre.
- Beginning of 4th century AD: construction of the baths of Constantine.
- 948: founding of the Montmajour abbey.
- 6th century: founding of the Saint-Césaire enclosure.
- 12th century: construction of Saint-Trophime cloister and cathedral.
"(...) It is the city of Arles, a city admirably placed by nature, or rather for which nature has, so to speak, made its place (...) " - Alphonse de Lamartine to the French National Assembly on 30 April 1842
1842: the deputy and writer Alphonse de Lamartine supports the routing of the Paris-Lyon-Marseille railway line via Arles in the National Assembly. A first development phase for the site of the Arlesian railway workshops is then commenced (1845-1856).
Construction includes a workshop for the manufacture and repair of machinery, a carriage workshop, a wagon workshop and a machinery warehouse.
1848: the Avignon-Marseille section is inaugurated in Arles. This marks a period of economic boom for the city. The workshops become the city’s main employers, employing up to 1,800 people in 1920.
1868: creation of the Réattu Museum.
1888-1889: Vincent van Gogh moves to Arles, where he will roam its landscapes and discover a light that nourishes his inspiration. Paul Gauguin joins him a few months before van Gogh begins to experience health problems, which leads to him leaving the region in May 1890.
1896: founding of the Museon Arlaten by Occitan writer Frédéric Mistral.
1904: Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Frédéric Mistral for his work Mirèio (Mireille).
1937: France’s various railway companies merge to become the SNCF. Technological progress gradually replaces the steam train, and with it the Ateliers d’Arles that specialised in its construction.
1954: founding of the biological research institute for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands (Tour du Valat) by Luc Hoffmann.
1961: creation of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). Luc Hoffmann becomes vice-president of the organisation.
1969: creation of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie festival by Michel Tournier, Jean-Maurice Rouquette and Lucien Clergue.
1978: founding of Actes Sud publishing house by Hubert Nyssen.
1981: founding of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (National School of Photography).
Despite several modernisation phases, the Parc des Ateliers undergoes progressive de-industrialisation and closes its doors in 1984 following a long decline in its activity. Abandoned, this wasteland in the centre of the city is gradually invaded by vegetation. Its buildings deteriorate and are sporadically used for storage, photography exhibitions or concerts.
1989: opening of the Médiathèque d’Arles (Arles media library).
1995: opening of the Departmental Museum of Ancient Arles.
From the mid-1990s, the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region considers a number of rehabilitation projects to revitalise the site. The huge Grande Halle building is renovated and inaugurated in 2007.
2002: Maja Hoffmann, patron of the Rencontres d’Arles, and François Hébel, then director of the photography festival, create the Prix Découverte (Discovery Prize) in order to broaden the festival’s outreach and support emerging photographers.
2004: creation of the Luma Foundation to support and produce experimental projects led by artists and cultural institutions.
2006: release of Sketches of Frank Gehry, a documentary film directed by Sydney Pollack about the architect’s work, produced by Maja Hoffmann.
With Frank Gehry, Maja Hoffmann starts reflecting on the way art centres, creative spaces and exhibition spaces have developed in the world. She brings together a core group of curators, artists, architects and thinkers: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Beatrix Ruf, Liam Gillick and Tom Eccles. Together, they are working to create a new cultural centre for the 21st century.
2008: the Luma Foundation co-signs with the City of Arles, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the Rencontres d’Arles an agreement for the development of the Parc des Ateliers project.
2010: in order to support Arles’s emergent cultural vitality, the Ministry of Culture announces the National School of Photography will be granted a new building in the Parc des Ateliers.
Maja Hoffmann invites landscape architect Bas Smets to work on the landscaping project at the Parc des Ateliers, as well as architect Annabelle Selldorf for the renovation of the site’s buildings.
In association with the Rencontres d’Arles, the Luma Foundation begins an experimental phase of artistic programming in Arles, with events taking place at the Parc des Ateliers as well as other places around the city: its arenas, Alyscamps necropolis and Place de la République (Republic Square).
2010: How Soon Is Now? - A study of contemporary photography and a series of symposia. 2011: The Human Snapshot symposium.
2012: To the Moon via the Beach - a group exhibition.
2013: Neue Welt, an exhibition by Wolfgang Tillmans.
5 April 2014: following several years of research for the project, construction officially begins with a ceremony organised for the laying of the first stone of Luma Arles.
Maja Hoffmann wants the site to remain accessible to the public during the construction of the Arts Resource Centre (designed by Frank Gehry) and the rehabilitation of existing buildings. The Parc des Ateliers thus plays host to an artistic and cultural programme prefiguring its future activities as well as events linked to the Rencontres d’Arles.
From 2014 onwards, Les Forges building is renovated. Made available to the Rencontres d’Arles festival, the space allows for museum-quality exhibitions, and co-productions with various international institutions and collections.
2016: La Mécanique Générale building is completed, with a contemporary extension. The building is immediately opened to the public.
2017: the Luma Foundation celebrates the 10th anniversary of the renovation of the Grande Halle with a full interdisciplinary programme. The foundation launches the Living Archives programme with an exhibition dedicated to Annie Leibovitz and an installation by artist duo Fischli / Weiss.
A reception area, restaurant (Le Réfectoire), bookshop, and information and ticketing space are also created.
Spring 2018: opening of La Formation building, dedicated to the performing arts. It welcomes dance company L.A. Dance Project for its third year in residence at Luma Arles.
Autumn 2018: construction work begins on the public park designed by Bas Smets.
In a state of perpetual motion, Luma Arles continues to develop the Parc des Ateliers. A platform for authentically interdisciplinary cultural production, the site encompasses a whole of different spaces with a variety of purposes, sizes, qualities and equipment ranging from raw industrial to “white cube”. By turns, these each become spaces for exhibitions and events very varied in format.
A production workshop, a collection of living archives, an artist residency programme, a school, etc.: so many tools enabling the programme that will be animating this 7-hectare site.
Each of these activities crosses its expertise with themes related to art, the environment, human rights and education.
Luma Arles consists of six former industrial buildings:
- Les Forges, the first building renovated and rehabilitated by Annabelle Selldorf, opened in July 2014.
- La Mécanique Générale, completed in 2016.
- La Formation, completed in 2018.
- The Former Administration Building, scheduled to open in 2020.
- The Arts Resource Centre (designed by Frank Gehry). Works planned from 2014 to 2020.
Creation of the Luma Foundation.
The Luma Foundation co-signs an agreement for the development of the Parc des Ateliers project.
Laying of the first stone of Luma Arles.
The Luma Foundation celebrates the 10th anniversary of the renovation of the Grande Halle with a full interdisciplinary programme.
Construction work begins on the public park designed by Bas Smets.
The Luma Arles project is being led by Maja Hoffmann, who has put together a core team including Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno and Beatrix Ruf. The team’s members have each actively contributed to developing the architecture plan and the artistic programme.
First stage of the Luma Arles architectural project:
To develop a cultural platform that guarantees maximum flexibility for research and artistic production.
The Parc des Ateliers centre piece:
The Arts Resource Centre designed by Frank Gehry (1). It will house archives, exhibition and presentation spaces, seminar rooms and a café/restaurant.
In the interest of sustainable energy use, the consumption of primary energy is being minimized so as to use a larger share from natural energy sources. Thus, passive solar design technology is storing the sun’s heat in the rotunda of the Arts Resource Centre designed by Frank Gehry; the exhibition spaces of the buildings renovated by Selldorf Architects are being naturally ventilated; the centralised system of cogeneration is fed with Sustainable development
In the interest of sustainable energy use, the consumption of primary energy is being minimized so as to use a larger share from natural energy sources. Thus, passive solar design technology is storing the sun’s heat in the rotunda of the Arts Resource Centre designed by Frank Gehry; the exhibition spaces of the buildings renovated by Selldorf Architects are being naturally ventilated; the centralised system of cogeneration is fed with pure vegetable oil and recycled oil; more than 2000 m2 of solar panels are being installed and rainwater will be collected for irrigating green spaces and providing water for sanitary facilities. more than 2000 m2 of solar panels are being installed and rainwater will be collected for irrigating green spaces and providing water for sanitary facilities.
Funding the project
The Luma Foundation provided the seed funding to launch the project. Luma Arles is committed to working with local artisans, contractors, and suppliers and has been developed a program with the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie to engage local companies.
To date, nine out of 15 companies selected to work on Les Forges are from Arles and the region (74% of the global market). Eight out of 14 companies from Arles and the region have been involved on the renovation of the Mécanique Générale (that is 65% of the global market). Eight out of 15 companies from Arles and the region have been involved in the renovation of the Formation (that is 67% of the global market). 17 companies from Arles work on the Arts Resource Building’s construction site.
Frank Gehry, Gehry Partners, LLP
Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects
Executive Architecture Team
Studios Architecture, C + D
Bas Smets, Bureau Bas Smets
Setec, Terrel, Tess, BMF, Socotec, Transsolar, Lamoureux, Terao, C & C, Cass
Industrial buildings on the disused site of former SNCF workshops:
These are intended to host presentations, installations, exhibitions, artists’ residencies.
Five of these buildings are being renovated by Annabelle Selldorf.
- Les Forges (3)
Presentation / exhibition space
– La Cour des Forges (3)
- La Mécanique Générale (5)
Presentation / exhibition space; workshop area occupied by Atelier Luma
- La Formation (4)
Performing Arts Residencies
- Former Administration Building (2)
Guest House; artists’ residencies
A historic building, la Grande Halle (6), was renovated in 2007 by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It is now a presentation & exhibition space.
The whole ensemble of buildings will be located in a public park designed by Bas Smets, including a lake and over 500 trees.
The opening is planned for 2020.
4D / A CORROS / AEB / ALQUIER / BAS SMETS / BOURGEOIS / BUREAU MICHEL FORGUE / C&C / CALVO / CASSO et ASSOCIES / CFA ASCENSEURS / CHIRI / CITYNOX / CKAT / CMB / COGITO ERGO SUM / CONCEPT RESINE / CORA / CRUDELI / CVI / DALKIA / EFECTIS / EIFFAGE CONSTRUCTION METALIQUE / ERCO / FERNANDEZ / FOUQUE / FOUSSON / GEHRY PARTNERS / GENERAL ENVIRONNEMENT / GINGER / CEBTP / GTM SUD / GUINTOLI / HORTIZ / ICF / IFHVP / IM PROJECT / INGELUX / IROKO / ISOMETRIX / JOUCLAS / KALIES / LAMOUREUX / LAURENT DUPORT ARCHITECTE / LCDA / LERM / M2C / M4D / MAGNONI / MASONI / MASTRAN / MATTOUT / MOINE MENUISERIE / MOREL / MOVEO / LERCH BATES / MYAMO / OBSERVATOIRE INT. / PROFIL / RIDOLFI / ROLAND GILLES / ROSSI / S2A SOUFFLERIES ACC. / SANTERNE / SELLDORF / SETEC / SGPM / SITA / SMAC / SMBR / SNEF / SOCOTEC / SOLARWATT / SPC / STUDIO ZNA / STUDIOS ARCHITECTURE / TANZI / TAW INTERNATIONAL / TERAO / TERREL / TESS / TONELLO / TPFI / TRANSSOLAR / VINCI CONSTRUCTION FRANCE