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Lille: 2016 AIA UK City Excursion


Lille: 2016 AIA UK City Excursion

Fiona Mckay

The 2016 AIAUK City Excursion to Lille, France was a two-day action-packed event with 34 attendees from across the UK and Europe.  The weekend (November 5-6) began with a walking tour of key developments in the Eurolille Masterplan, including the Jean Nouvel Centre Commercial.  The morning's events concluded at the CAAU offices, with a presentation by Thomas Coldefy and Isabel Van Haute of their work in Lille and abroad.

Saturday afternoon, attendees briefly toured the redevelopment of the 200-year old industrial estate at Lille Fives Cail, Caruso St. John's recently opened culinary school complex, Lycée Hotelier de Lille. One of the highlights of the weekend was the afternoon's visit to the Musée de la Piscine, a former indoor pool and bath designed by Albert Baert in the early 20th century, that has been converted to a sculpture, art and textile museum by Jean-Paul Philippon (2000) - with a cafe that serves one of Lille's specialties, Méert gaufres (waffles).

The first day of the excursion concluded with a visit to the Villa Cavrois. Following a private tour of the Robert Mallet Stevens project, with anecdotes of its history and renovations presented by M. Paul Hervé Parsy, who led the Villa's restoration and serves as its current curator, attendees gathered in the spacious living room for cocktails and dinner - a real treat to enjoy the environs as guests of the Cavrois must have done almost 100 years ago.

Excursion events continued the following day with another museum visit, this time to LAM, an art museum housing contemporary, modern and 'outsider' works, originally constructed by Roland Simounet (1983), with a recent addition by Manuelle Gautrand in 2010, a gallery visit at the converted rail depot and warehouses of St. Saveur, and one last walking tour through the historic streets of Old Lille - including the stunning contemporary facade of the Lille Cathedral by Pierre-Louis Carlier and Peter Rice.

The weekend was organised by AIAUK Board Members Amrita Raja, AIA and Lester Korzilius, AIA, former AIACE president Bertrand Coldefy, Int'l Assoc. AIA, Thomas Coldefy, Intl'l Assoc. AIA, Chantal Coldefy and Isabel Van Haute.  The 2016 AIA UK City Excursion was sponsored by Kaldewei. The UK Board offers its many thanks to Kaldewei, co-coordinators and local guides in France, and all the attendees for contributing to such a spectacular weekend.

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