La Rochelle’s listed town hall, France
Historic buildings are significant cultural assets. Listed buildings are therefore subject to certain requirements when it comes to renovation and modernisation. In the historic town hall of La Rochelle, a French coastal city in the département of Charente-Maritime, modern GEZE door systems ensure that the heritage-protected architecture is preserved while making the town hall accessible to all.
The town hall has been on the same site since the city of La Rochelle was founded in 1298, making it one of the oldest still in use in France. It was built in the Gothic and Renaissance styles and, with its crenellated curtain wall, small corner turrets and watchtower with a ceramic statue of the French King Henry IV, is among the city’s most significant historic buildings.
In 1861, the historic building was placed under heritage protection and underwent extensive renovation to restore some of the original elements and carry out necessary modifications and upgrades. La Rochelle town hall has now undergone vital renovations for a second time. This work followed a fire that spread to all roof areas in the historic part of the building, which caused the structure to collapse. Given the scale of the damage and the historic building’s cultural value, the extensive reconstruction posed considerable challenges. The most significant challenges undoubtedly lay in restoring the listed sections of the building to their original condition. At the same time, areas open to the public needed to be redesigned in line with modern standards on safety and accessibility.
Under the leadership of Philippe Villeneuve, a renowned chief architect of historic monuments also responsible for the restoration of Notre-Dame, the project to reconstruct and renovate the historic town hall lasted almost six years. However, these efforts have paid off: the historic architecture now shines with new splendour and La Rochelle town hall offers outstanding convenience and accessibility to all visitors.
User-friendly access controls – a must for public buildings
The benefits of modern door technology are clear to see in all parts of the building that need specific access authorisation. At La Rochelle’s historic town hall, two automatic doors provide access to administrative areas that only town hall employees are permitted to enter. A GEZE Slimdrive automatic door has been equipped with an access control system that only gives access to authorised persons. A second automatic door serves as a one-way exit from the offices into the foyer. Our modern door technology therefore supplements the historic architecture with accessibility and excellent convenience.