Sainte-Marie Church

  • Sarlat-la-Canéda, France
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No religious services were being held in the Church of Saint Mary of Sarlat, as had been the case for some years, and there remained no liturgical furniture, either. The building is next to the City Hall in the Liberté square. Jean Nouvel was commissioned to convert the space into a covered market and the refurbishing of the bell tower as a look-out point that would dominate the surrounding area and a part of the town, which has maintained its medieval city organization and has a number of palaces and other buildings of interest. The project gives maximum respect to the Gothic structure: all of its new elements – the stands for the vendors in the market, the elevator to the top of the spire – are steel. This contrasts strikingly with the Gothic stone-work and maintains a visual separation. It is a duality of material selection that begins fact, right at the main (steel) door. Inside the building, there in no lack of natural light thanks to the large rose window in the façade.