12th century hospital restored by JUNG Architectures
Paris-based JUNG Architectures led the exciting project of reconstructing a medieval building complex. Set in the Cote d’Or region of Burgundy, the building was commissioned in the early 12th century by Duke Hughes II., who wished to establish an institution for the sick and poor. Known as “La Léproserie”, the original construct featured three parts: the Gatehouse, the Room of the Poor, and the Chapel.
In the coming centuries the building served various functions, all related to hospice, until the 19th century when it was turned into an agricultural farmhouse. That final usage, however, lead to the almost complete dilapidation and abandonment of the complex, even though in 1926 it got listed on the Supplementary Inventory of Historic Monuments. It took almost 100 years till it was restored and given a new, contemporary use.
Location and proximity to the town of Meursault was crucial in the layout and function of the old hospital. Standing slightly isolated, on the road to the town, the building can be seen as an island in the midst of vineyards, and as a gate to Meursault as well.
The reconstruction began with archeological work and the repair of the original walls that serve as a base for the existing and newly raised structures. Instead of obtrusing the ancient construct, architects inspired to preserve what was left from the ancient building, making only minimal interventions and rebuilding what was demolished in a faithful way.
Function-wise, the former Gatehouse is now a tourist information centre, while the Room of the Poor and the Chapel were turned into exhibition spaces hosting all kinds of cultural events.
A new addition is a wine tasting room, on the other side adjacent to the Gatehouse. This new wing reinforces the sense of “enclosedness” and together with the Chapel they take a subtle reference to old cloister structures.
Its zinc cladding on the outside is a contemporary touch, yet it is in harmony with the old stone of the rest. The inside follows a different aesthetic path: wooden cladding, and gradually expanding openings ensure a warm, friendly atmosphere and lead visitors through dim to full light.
Photographs: Martin Argyroglo
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