Spanning three floors, La Maison de l’Eau et de la Méditerranée (MEM) leads visitors through a series of fun, interactive spaces and temporary exhibitions, as well as a 3D projection and event room, an educational workshop, a gift shop and outdoor spaces.
The MEM is designed to welcome visitors of all ages: adults, kids, newcomers and specialists are all invited to enjoy an exploratory journey to the heart of our precious waters.
Throughout these five spaces, the MEM invites visitors to learn about water in all its states, with fun ways to understand the global issues that surround water preservation and conservation. This includes learning how through simple, everyday actions, both kids and adults can reduce their ecological impact. The freedom to explore and pass on this knowledge is crucial for our future generations. The MEM exists to create a legacy, and increase awareness of the vital need to preserve this precious resource: “water – humanity’s immaterial heritage.”
History and Architecture
Located in the heart of the Pyrénées Orientales department, water is everywhere in Le Boulou. The Tech, one of the main rivers in the department, flows right through the town. Water has always had a fundamental social and economic role in the lives of the locals – the Boulounencqs. The existence and benefits of the waters of Le Boulou have been recorded since before the 9th century. Since the 19th century, the spa resort of Le Boulou has been famous for its unique water, rich in magnesium and other minerals renowned for their therapeutic properties. The town is known for its famous “Eau du Boulou”, which has been bottled until the 2000s.
The architectural design of the MEM was dreamt up by the architect Philippe Dubuisson and it traces a continuous line between present and future, through its layers of historical homage.
With its perfectly-proportioned openings onto the rue Arago and rue Neuve, the building’s décor binds it to the history of the town and enhances the use of light from its positive or negative spaces. The simple, minimalist façades are shrouded in a protective covering.
Light seeps into the structure via the vibration of fine metallic shards, dissipating in sunshine or in shadow, day or night ; a flowing mesh that shimmers with the changing and unpredictable movement of the light.
Economy and Tourism
Le Boulou sits at the crossroads of the Spanish border, the Mediterranean coast and the eastern edge of the Pyrenees mountain range.
La Maison de l’Eau et de la Méditerranée is a public establishment. Its foundation reflects the political desire to revitalize the town centre, but also to enhance local cultural heritage through this innovative architectural style, encapsulating the unifying and universal subject of water.
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