Grotte de Niaux
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Massimiliano Fuksas is a world-famous architect.
Director of Venice’s architecture sector, he chose as his theme the town and the role of the architect in defining the urban space.
In 1999, he received the Grand Prix National de l'Architecture awarded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.
A sort of large animal,
coming out of the cave
and spreading its wings
His original idea for the building in front of the Niaux Cave was a sort of large animal, coming out of the cave and spreading its wings. Thought of as an archaeological vestige, the sculpture is made of Corten steel, a steel whose surface corrosion gives it a natural patina.
A NATURAL SITE
“Tarascon-sur-Ariège seems to have been predestined by nature to become an important prehistoric settlement. Here we are (…) close to the great plain, and to the entrance of one of the valleys penetrating deepest into the central Pyrenees. This is where the great path cut by the River Ariège passes, that animals and man must have taken since time immemorial.”
Abbé Henri Breuil
Niaux Cave is in the Cap de la Lesse massif, a limestone massif occupying the angle formed by the Ariège and its tributary the Vicdessos.
The Ariège glacier was one of the most powerful glaciers on the northern slopes of the Pyrenees. It was joined in the Tarascon-sur-Ariège watershed by the Vicdessos glacier.
Once those glaciers started to withdraw, Niaux Cave became accessible to Magdalenian man.
They couldn’t have failed to notice its immense porch, 55 metres high and 50 wide.
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