Centre de culture contemporaine — Montpellier


Ground floor (public space)

  • La Panacée Information Desk
  • La Panacée Café
  • 1645 m² of public space divided into five exhibition halls, a classroom space, hallways and the patio.
  • Office of Visitor Services welcome space, information desk, a space for documentation and exchange, open to the public.
  • Resource Center endowed with a collection of books, ephemera and original documents of topical interest (reviews), catalogues and monographs of artists featured in the exhibitions, media theory, an audio and video record of happenings at la Panacée.
  • An auditorium with 188 seats for holding screening cycles (videos, art films, cinema), conferences, performances, special events and concerts.

Level -1 

  • Five poduction studios for art-making, a printing studio and a small construction workshop
  • The staff offices of La Panacée

A reconstruction of an historic site, undergone by the City Montpellier

By turns Royal Medical School, Graduate School of Pharmacy, and National Health Laboratory, La Panacée is an important part of Montpellier’s medical history. The site, steeped in a past of experimentation, research, study and learning, stands out in our imaginations because tutelary figures like Rabelais passed through it.

After a call for proposals for the building’s renovation, the City entrusted architect Jean-Luc Lauriol and interior designer Henri Rouvière with the rebuilding. In June 2011, the City itself oversaw the second phase of construction, focusing on the new publicly accessible ground floor. At that point, interior designer Franck Fortecoëff was brought in to complete the design work, notably the auditorium, galleries and resource center.    

La Panacée, which appears from the outside as an urban island with a 200-meter perimeter and is constructed around an inner courtyard, is an architectural palimpsest with elements dating back to the 12th century, up until the 1950s. Some of the building’s old floor plans, including those in the resource center, were found during renovations. 

The architectural project centers on the inner courtyard, a quadrangle around which all the center’s passageways, spaces and functions gravitate. The open galleries, which ring the patio like those of a cloister, are henceforth inside the building: exhibition spaces, the classroom, resource center, auditorium and café. 

Spaces were opened up to create roomy and light-filled galleries. A wood-paneled auditorium was created in the former amphitheater.

A white façade was raised in the patio in order to mark the continuity between the art center and the student residence hall managed by the CROUS, on the first floor. The various functions blend into a single, coherent project, making La Panacée an art and living space wrapped into one.