Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Toulouse, FRAC Midi-Pyrénées

The building

In the early 1990s the association for the creation of a space for Modern and Contemporary art were looking for a building and setting which would be suitable. The former municipal abattoirs were chosen in 1995 and the transformation started in January 1997, finishing in June 2000.

A wonderful example of 19th century industrial architecture, Urbain Vitry drew up plans for the municipal slaughterhouse in 1827, which was used as such from 1831 right up until 1988.

With their wish to retain the neo-classical simplicity and abstraction of the building (with its semi- circular rear), the architects Antoine Stinco and Remi Pappillault won the competition to transform the building in 1995.

During the restoration and renovation work, an evolving art installation was created on the hoardings around the building site. The artwork, designed by Sandrine Curti (entitled "la Maison Bleu") announced to passers-by that the new building was on its way. The piece evolved as the building work progressed; at first, black and white cows were painted against a blue background. Over time, some of the cows were turned red or yellow, and the blue background became more abstract. Near the end of the building work, the cows disappeared one by one to reveal (the new) Abattoirs. This was a pertinent project, both hiding the building site while the work was in process, and also making a link between the past and future use of the building.

The video shows the process through which the original architecture is restored by the architects, the special system was designed by aeronautic engineers to both house and exhibit the immense stage curtain.