The Théâtre 95, opposite the prefecture, is housed in the third building to be built in the new town which arose in the 1970s. This emblem of the town’s history was once the home of Cergy Pontoise school of architecture and urban planning before becoming an arts school and then being transformed into a theatre. The extension is a complex project which is framed by more general considerations about emerging social and urban developments and cultural practices. The aim is to invite the wider public to discover new strategies to reinvent the town.
The building’s pleated roof is the first component which strikes the visitor’s eye: this is the outline which the extension has borrowed to link old and new. The connection consists in a "semi public” hall-atrium, which follows the "Fil D'Ariane" - a public footpath which winds its way without interruption from the South-East to the North-West of the town, and is thus "integrated” into the building.
The existing pleated outline of the roof is continued in the hall-atrium volume, where it transforms into juxtaposed strips which create shafts of light entering the hall. The pleats are also echoed in the new auditorium, facing South, creating a new rhythm which emphasizes the choice of erecting the new structure out of line with Cergy's traditional orthogonal grid. The pleated outline has become the "crown" which is found in the volume of the new auditorium.
The new volume rises in an almost baroque posture, as if in confrontation with what is already there: the existing building conserves its identity, the atrium linking it to the new, setting up a "face-off" relationship between two visions which mix, stand in opposition and join together in a boldly chaotic statement.
The new extension will house a “flexible” 400 seat auditorium: the volume, which includes stage and technical areas, is blind, and covered with golden scales which bring light to a fairly colourless urban environment.