Christian Menu by Didier Gicquel
Graduated of architecture in Paris in 1985, Christian Menu won the same year the Unesco international consultation for a “sustainable” habitat as part of the Tsukuba Universal Exhibition. He won the World Young Architects Grand Prix. Kenzo Tange, whom he met during his invitation to the Habitat International Conference in Tokyo, also in 1985, offered him to join his team. With Stéphane du Château, a student of Le Ricolais, he worked on high-tech construction structures. At the same time, interested by the mathematical and physical sciences, especially quantum physics, he approached Iannis Xenakis to evoke together what he himself attempted in the affiliation between mathematics, architecture and music. This research leaded to theoretical urban and architectural models, exhibited in France,in Japan, in the United States, in the United Kingdom... For this he is honoured, by UIA and receive the « Habitat of Tomorrow International Price. These projects, with their innovative and visionary ambitions, propose a reconstruction of the territory and the landscape according to principles of environmental and technological microcities.
In 1985, with Monique Mosser, landscape historian at the french CNRS, and with the help of the C.-N. Ledoux Foundation, directed by Richard Edwards, he conducted research on inhabited bridges, concluded with the drawing of a suspended garden district on the Seine in the heart of Paris ; a complex glass structure of a single span. He received the Architecture Special Award from the Glass Institute for this project. This study, and all of his work as an architect, and urban planner, but also as a painter, is exhibited at the C.-N. Ledoux Foundation, at the « Saline royale d’Arc-et-Senans » in 1986.
In 1987, he founded his agencies in Paris and La Rochelle ; primarily devoted to public projects of urban development and cultural buildings and, since 2010, to private projects of mixed and complex programs.
In 1989, he won a consultation in La Rochelle for the development of a marshy area of more than 160 hectares. Michel Crépeau, mayor and minister, entrusted him with a mission as a city planner. This work of research on the urban deployment of the city lasts twenty years, until 2009. A unique experience. This commitment allows him to confront all forms of situations peculiar to the development of a city with multiple facets and in reconversion : La Rochelle and its historic port, its historic district, its ports and industrial districts of Minimes and La Pallice, its wastelands, its coast... That same year, he was designated to carry out the new interior design of the Musée de l'Armée at the « Hôtel National des Invalides » in Paris. He uses glazed facades with a completely original clip technic. He designed the Gribeauval Collection museography and received for this work the T&A Magazine’s Project of the Year Award.
In 1990, he built the Technoforum de La Rochelle for which he developed one of the first structural glazing roof, covering an area of more than 900 m2.
In 1993, he was selected by the Culture Ministry on the list of the new wave of French creators, all the arts combined, among fifteen architects such as Barani, Berger, Borel, Deck, Hondelatte, Kagan, Jourda and Perraudin, Roche and among other creators such as the choreographer Decouflé, the movie directors Carax, Desplechin, Rochant, the composer Dusapin, the musician MC Solaar, the visual artists Lévêque, Calle...
In 2003, he won the international competition for the creation of the Great Curtius Museum in Liège.
In 2004, he proposed to the city of La Rochelle on its principle of microcity, a development of its marshy wastelands of the south-east, in a Venetian lakeside district, cleaning and recreating the canals. A city whose particularity is to be subjected to only one regulatory constraint, that of the height of its constructions limited by the skyline of a general velum.
In 2005, he made for the Île-de-France museum, a glass structure frame without any metal fixing, a unique example in France.
In 2006, he built the extension of the Ernest Cognacq Museum in Saint-Martin-de-Ré and in 2007 he is charged as curator to set up an exhibition for the tricentenary of the death of the engineer Vauban as part of the candidacy of the citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré for its inscription on the Unesco World Heritage List, obtained the same year.
In 2007, he develps a regulation for the harbour and industrial district of La Pallice in La Rochelle, on a principle of libération of the contraints in particular concerning the heights of the constructions, governed by a harmonic regulator.
In 2008, the Prime Minister of Belgium, accompanied by the Culture Minister of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, inaugurated the Museum of Fine Arts of Mons, the BAM, created as part of the nomination and designation of the city as the 2015 European Capital of Culture.
He received the same year and for this achievement which is inscribed by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation on the list of the Guide of modern and contemporary architecture from 1885 to 2015, the Press Museum Prize.
Since 2012, he has been charged by the municipality of Champéry of drawing the master plans for his urban development. There he designed the « Rue du Village » in the historic old centre. On this occasion he wrote the book « La Route du Grand Paradis », an inventory of the old historic buildings of the valley. That same year he built "Quai Ouest" in La Rochelle.
In 2014, he composed the conversion plan of the military wasteland of the Mangin barracks in La Rochelle for the construction of a new district of more than 650 housing units.
In 2017, he was consulted by Prince Ben Rachid Al Maktoum to build a tower in Dubai. At the same time, for the 2020 World Expo, he is developing a concept of a “smart” digital city, based on the empowerment of urban centres and their networking, always on the principle of microcity: food cultivation and domestic energy production, short circuit, recycling.Principles which he adopts in the development of three housing projects.
In 2018, a first collaboration with the City of Tours led him to study the possibility of a new high-rise extension for the Hallebardier district combined with a bioclimatic approach.
In 2019, he designed a bioclimatic dioxygenating greenhouse building. The same year he completed the historic 26,000 m2 complex of the former « Magasins aux Vivres » at the Royal Arsenal of Rochefort where it simultaneously develops the major project of rehabilitation of the former Historic Naval Hospital for delivery in 2023. A rehabilitation of 17,000 m2 and an extension of 45,000 m2 under the forgotten historic vegetable garden, to which he will bring a new life.
Now he shares his time between his two studios in Paris and Venice. At the same time, he pursued a career as a painter whose first exhibitions took place in 1977. Today he exhibits regularly at the Nicolas Deman gallery in Paris.