The French Angers Cathedral will soon have a new entrance by Kengo Kuma and Associates. The proposed arched addition will act to protect part of the historic façade while creating a new open-air gallery between the cathedral and the new entry.
“We wanted to put ourselves in the shoes of the builders of the Middle Ages and to create a regulatory framework, using compasses, thus generating the proportions which lead to unity,” says Kengo Kuma and Associates. Central to this mission, the firm insists, was understanding stone processes that would help to respect history while creating something contemporary.
KKAA’s proposal matches the color and the heaviness of Angers Cathedral but reads as a new and more minimal form. It is made up of five arches, one at either end of the addition and three at the front that seem to match the proportions of the cathedral. A front view of the building demonstrates the relationship between the proportions of the cathedral and the proportions of the addition.
The open-air gallery will help to protect the colorful stone relics discovered in the cathedral’s portal in the 12th century. It is the second protective canopy to be designed for this purpose as the first canopy was torn down in 1807. Though Kuma’s addition is not a recreation of the original canopy, it still fits with the historic context of the cathedral.
“The contemporary construction he imagined perfectly meets the expectations of the competition: it fits harmoniously into a major heritage building and more broadly into its urban context, while protecting the portal of the cathedral and its old polychromies,” said the French Ministry of Culture.
The project is set to be completed by 2022.