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Longues-sur-Mer: the tourist office pre-selected for an architecture prize

Adrian de Bellaigue. ©Jeanne d’Anglejan

Located in Longues since 2006the tourist office needed works. Motorhomes settled on a cliff threatened by landslides and the size of the old office was no longer suitable for the 300,000 visitors who come every year. The works, which began in April 2021, were completed in May 2022. The iinauguration is scheduled for 2023.

Combining landscape and architecture

If Adrien de Bellaigue (from the firm dbo architects) is the one who proposed the project of the tourist office, he is also the architect of the Overlord museum, inaugurated in 2013. After having participated in other competitions for tourist offices, notably in Merville or Omaha, Adrien’s project was selected by Bayeux Intercom for Longues. “We already had references with other competitions,” he explains. For the copy he is making in 2019, Adrien worked with the landscape architects Michele&Miquel.

It’s a project that mobilized different trades: we work with landscapers, a scenographer…

Adrien de Bellaigue, architect

The challenge of this building was to reconcile two things : on the one hand, it was necessary preserve the coastline by meeting specific Bayeux Intercom criteria. On the other, it was necessary mix history, architecture and landscape to keep an authentic place.

An office that blends into the landscape

If it is a question of Longues deal with the batteries surrounding area, you also have to work with the surrounding vegetation and fields. To do this, a 0.80 meter hole was dug to minimize the visual impact of the pantry: “The further you go towards the bunkers, the more the pantry disappears. We worked without adding or removing soil, we had to rebalance”.

The more visitors move towards the batteries, the more the building disappears. ©Jeanne d’Anglejan

The reasons that motivated Bayeux Intercom to choose this project are numerous. Already, the new pantry offers a larger area. It allows towelcome more and better, inside and out. “The idea was to have an awning that protects from the rain for schoolchildren and for groups”, underlines the architect.

Then the building blends into the background. It is monochrome, “everything is ocher”, the concrete has been sandblasted. A continuity is established between the inside and the outside of the building, and everything meets the specifications by offering technical rooms and toilets in an area of ​​200 m². The roof of the galley is also accessible, and offers a panoramic sea view, the batteries and the city of Bayeux, in the distance.

When you go up to the roof, you understand why the Longues batteries were built here: you have an unobstructed view of the sea and the hinterland.

Adrien de Bellaigue, architect

Dealing with constraints

Led by Bayeux Intercom and the municipality of Longues-sur-Mer, the project mobilizes many actors. Among them, the coastal curator who ensures that the cliff is protected from motorhomes and that everything is up to standard. The secondary road has been diverted, and a path has been installed for visitors to the batteries.

Videos: currently on Actu

The aim is also to maintain the historical aspect of the site. This is also why Adrien de Bellaigue wanted to work with concrete, to create a harmony between the batteries and the building. The cost of the work excluding VAT amounts to €1,750,000, split 50% for the building and 50% for the landscaping. The tourist office is waiting 400,000 visitors this year, against the usual 300,000 annual visitors.

For the official inauguration of 2023, there is still a lack of signage for the circuit, and vegetation. The project is to definitively settle the question of parkingand Bayeux Intercom offers to install a food truck next to the office.

Spotted by a prestigious architectural competition

The two architecture journals that are CMA and of A are used to rewarding the most beautiful French buildings each year. This year, the Prix d’architectures 10+1 de review of A nominated the tourist office. Office which is on the list of 33 buildings identified among those built in France this year. This summer, the jury will travel across France to see the buildings and will distinguish “the most exemplary achievements whose answers seem to them the most representative of current architectural issues”, can we read on the site.

It’s a bit like the Goncourt prize in literature.

Adrian de Bellaigue

If the new tourist office of Longues receives the prize, the prize-giving ceremony will take place in September at the Center Pompidou, in Paris.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Contact on 02 31 21 46 87.

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