landscape, the architecture and the staging as a single unit, closely linked
to the visual and descriptive narrative of the visit’. In addition to new
facsimile caves it includes a parietal art theatre, 3D interactive cinema,
screen-based art gallery and a temporary exhibition space, built inside
the landscape and reached through a long, glazed ‘cut’ in the hillside.
A section devoted to ‘understanding Lascaux’ includes a scale model
that employs augmented reality, and a space containing eight facsimiles
of major wall paintings.
‘A full digital scan was made of the original cave and from this there are
three outputs that our visitors will be able to see,’ says Casson Mann
founder Dinah Casson. ‘ The first is the complete facsimile itself; the
second is the gallery of fragments of the facsimile that carry the key
images, and the third is the 3D projection of a journey through the cave
that enables us to see parts that are impossible for most to visit in reality.
‘Both the facsimile and the fragments are hand painted by a team of
artists who have super-accurate information to work from. They have
used the same materials as were used in the original and the results
are extraordinary. Close analysis of the pigments and the colours have
enabled the Facsimile Workshop of Perigord to create as perfect a copy
as is possible. The projected, filmic version, however, adjusts the colour
balance which enables the images to read more clearly.’
The site is where hill and valley, thick forest and agricultural land abut.
‘At the intersection of these two contrasting landscapes, the project
takes advantage of the geography and relief,’ says Snøhetta. ‘It is
building-landscape that seems like an incision, a horizontal fault that
accentuates the line between the valley and the hill.’ The spirit of Lascaux
contributed to the development of a sober architectural proposal,
‘without any ostentation or excess in forms or materials, and gave off a
genuine power, notably in its dialogue with the elements: the relief, the
forest, the rocks, and the light.’
Concerning the building as a whole, our general principle was to integrate
lighting into architectural details – the ‘faults and gorges’ of the building –
to underline the massiveness of the architectural project, and emphasise
its underground nature. No fixtures are directly visible; only the luminous
effect seems to emanate from the mass of the building, as if the light
comes from the very entrails of the hill in which it is embedded.
Snøhetta has said that ‘the project’s second material, glass, dominates
in the facade and the roof of the orientation area. Together with the