La Mécanique Générale

Formerly a workshop dedicated to mechanical works, this building, which was renovated by Selldorf Architects, now offers exhibition and work spaces. 

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Some information and key figures:
  • Total area: 4518 square meters
  • Exhibition space area: 2928 square meters
  • Use: exhibition, performances and representation spaces. 
  • Opening: 2016

History and initial purpose

La Mécanique Générale was originally a large workshop dedicated to mechanical works and machines repairs.

Built at the same time as the Parc des Ateliers, the building, formerly called an assembly workshop, was transformed in the 1940s and became La Mécanique Générale. This large workshop with modern machine tools was described as large, well-lit, and heated in winter by warm-air blowers.

At the time, La Mécanique Générale comprised a repair center for machine tools and equipment, as well as a workshop for repairing electric winding motors.

The usual mechanical work was mostly done there.

Building renovation

La Mécanique Générale was the second building renovated by Selldorf Architects. The redesign was almost total in order to transform the place into a flexible and modular space.

Hervé Hôte

Cut open following a fire in 1986, La Mécanique Générale was the second building renovated by Selldorf Architects. The structure required an almost total redesign to be transformed into an exhibition space.

Since the idea was to create a flexible space while preserving the heart and soul of the place, some elements of its original industrial architecture have been kept, such as the steel columns and consoles, as well as the concrete floors.

To facilitate the exhibition of monumental works, a modern extension offers a height of 20 meters without columns. The black concrete façade and zinc roof of the extension contrast with the renovated stucco façade and the new tiled roof of the historic structure.


Inaugurated in 2016, the building now consists of a modular space hosting exhibitions and performances, as well as a workspace.

Opened to the public in 2016, the building of La Mécanique Générale has a total area of 4520sq, including 2930sq dedicated to exhibitions, performances or representations.

The space hosted, among others, the performances of Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project company, in 2016, and the major retrospective Gilbert & George. The Great Exhibition (1971–2016), in 2018.

Lionel Roux


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