Reconversion and extension of the former hospital, Meursault (France)


Reconversion and extension of the former hospital, Meursault (France)

Meursault leaves room for doubt! Are the zinc-clad parts of the former leprosarium a recent graft or an older artefact?






Architect: Jung Architectures, Frédéric Jung? Co-architect: Simon Buri, Contractor: Les Charpentiers de Bourgogne
Technique: VMZINC® Standing seam, Surface aspect: AZENGAR®


Hesitation is the sign of a successful contemporary intervention, compatible with the Venice Charter, which stipulates the reversibility and identification of additions to monuments.



The former leprosarium in Meursault should be seen as an island of stone floating among the vineyards, isolated from the city. Listed as a French historic monument in 1926, the building has served several purposes in its nine centuries of existence. A residential care  Centre, a farm, and almost a ruin when the municipality of Meursault decided to convert it for use as a wine tasting cellar and tourist information centre. The existing building had to be rehabilitated and extended to accommodate all the spaces required by the programme. Frédéric Jung, who won the contract, built the extension on the remains of walls, forming a curve that recreates the original feeling of insularity by enclosing the courtyard. The new and old sections connect at the gate lodge, the former entrance to the leprosarium.



Jung Architectures wanted to conserve the minerality of the monument. He envisaged using Burgundy limestone - a local material already present on the existing building - on the roof and façade. “For technical approval reasons, we had to give up the idea of using stone and we started looking for an alternative mineral material. We thought the texture and brightness of AZENGAR® zinc and its matt aspect could create a very interesting blend with the stratified limestone of the leprosarium”, explains Jung. The dialogue with the existing building continued with the installation of the material. Applied on the roof and facade, the zinc forms a metal skin with an abstracted detachment. Arbitrary openings on the extension are echoed by the original windows, the regularity of which was altered through the centuries by successive repairs.

The malleability of the zinc made it possible to exaggerate this autonomy and plasticity: sheets of zinc cut into two different widths seem to have blurred the usual rhythm of the joints, while facilitating the insertion of windows installed directly in the cladding. Concealing the joinery of the window frame was important for the architect. The rainwater gutter was replaced by a gutter at the bottom of the cladding. The transition between the roof and the facade was clearly expressed, in order to create a play of shadow and light, already created by the lines of the standing seams. The logic behind the modelling of the material reaches its peak at the end of the extension, considered as a prow rather than as a spandrel. It creates angles and openings onto the landscape from inside
the courtyard, inviting visitors to come into this space from the outside.