THE BOULINGRIN COVERED MARKET
RESTORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF A REINFORCED CONCRETE PROJECT FROM THE 1930s
A centre of city life and a feat of reinforced-concrete construction, the Boulingrin Covered Market escaped demolition and recommenced its activity as a covered market in the centre of Reims.
Since the Boulingrin covered market was opened in 1929, it has been part of the identity of Reims. The building was a symbol of the future and the reconstruction following the destruction of World War I, in particular for its modernist architecture, materials, and the use of what were for the time futuristic techniques. Built to host a covered market, it was designed by architect Emile Maigrot, however, it was the engineer Eugene Freyssinet who provided the ingenuity regarding the installation of the thin shell in reinforced concrete, a technique he had patented.
Use of the building ceased in 1988 on account of its dilapidation, to the extent that Reims City Council was considering its destruction. However, the market was placed under protection in 1990 when it was classified as a historic monument. Following a long period of study, the French State and City of Reims decided to finance a far-reaching restoration, and to restart the building's original vocation as a covered marketplace.
The restoration of the elements in concrete, which were suffering from avanced degradation, required a high degree of technical skill, but the real difficulty was to adapt and bring this fragile building into compliance with the standards in force for its current usage, without changing the nature of its architecture. We considered all the elements that composed the project with the same care and attention: the vaults, the windows, the ironwork, and the elegant Art Deco facilities designed by the architect.
In 2015 this project was awarded the Europa Nostra prize for European cultural heritage.