The world’s newest Conservatoire…

The world’s newest Conservatoire…


norman lebrecht

December 25, 2015

… is the Henri Dutliieux, at Belfort, France. The buildings were completed this year at a public cost of  €6,326,000, in time for the composer’s centenary year.

dutlleux conservatoire1dutlleux conservatoire2

Makes Juilliard look a bit urban and 20th century.

dutlleux conservatoire3

Photos © Eugeni Pons


  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Congratulations to Belfort and of course to the memory of Henri Dutilleux. This school is a regional conservatoire of music, dance, and theater for the general community which does not offer university level degrees. It does offer a professional track leading to advanced study elsewhere.

    I find the construction price incredibly low, and perhaps misleading because it is the architect’s original budget estimate. What did it really cost after outfitting and equipping the building? My guess would be somewhere north of 10M euros (which is still not expensive by US standards).

    The building is interesting as a 21st century architectural statement (with a few “clins d’oeil” to the past: Le Corbusier, Renzo Piano and even Jackson Pollock, please see link below) but very much lacking in the personality and warmth one expects in an arts school, IMHO. It actually makes the current Juilliard building (after the recent renovations) fell warm and fuzzy!

    My real problem with projects like this in France is the lack of a budget for long-term maintenance. I am not optimistic about the condition of this building in 10 years unless the good burghers of Belfort (aka les Belfortains) have done some serious long-term fiscal planning (and that would be rare for most public projects in France).

    • Doug says:

      Long term maintenace, you say? Don’t sweat it. In about ten years the building will make for a nice new madras, maintenance covered by Saudi trillions in Swiss banks.

      • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

        I wonder if they have a Qatar department? Unfortunately they are not as attractive as Paris hotels or football teams but I get your drift.

  • Max Grimm says:

    “What did it really cost after outfitting and equipping the building?”

    I read an article written for the official opening or naming a couple of months ago, and if I remember correctly, the final cost was said to be ~ €9mio. I shall endeavour to find the article again.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      OK. But please remember that in France all quotes are HT (hors taxe, before taxes). Current construction TVA is 10%. Therefore even the 6.3M euros figure is +10%. I look forward to the results of your research.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the exterior of the building. I just find the interior a bit cold especially that grand entrance and stairway. The performance spaces are all much smaller than the lobby. Hmmmm.

      • Max Grimm says:

        I haven’t been able to find the specific article that I read, which is rather aggravating, as it contained a detailed breakdown of previously projected and actual expenditures. I was able to find a short article from May, that says the “project’s total cost” was “close to €10mio” (

        I was a bit disappointed at the allocation of the overall available space myself. It’s often a letdown when one sees an architecturally intriguing or simply interesting exterior and the interior turns out to be a large, open and mostly empty space that will only appeal to ardent lovers of geometry.

  • Eli Bensky says:

    Just imagine – attending and graduating from an “urban and 20th century” looking institution as Juilliard”. Oh the horror of it!

    (Slipped Disc still uses early 1990 technology)