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Valentiny Foundation
The architect François Valentiny opened the Valentiny Foundation in partnership with the municipality of Schengen. Opened in 2014, this foundation conserves and highlights the work of the Luxembourg architect, while conducting actions directed 
towards the population in general and young persons in particular.

Why a foundation?

The Valentiny Foundation, recognised as a public utility by Grand-Ducal decree of 28 April 2014 and of which the architect Tatiana Fabeck is the president, has a threefold objective: to guarantee the unity of the architectural and artistic work of the Architect François Valentiny and to make it accessible to the 
public, to engage in pedagogical activities in partnership with the municipality of Schengen and the University of Luxembourg, and to promote tourism in the context of its artistic and architectural achievements.
“The idea for a foundation came to me after my experience as a consultant for the DAM- Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt. We were looking for architectural collections to be retained to showcase them through exhibitions thereafter. I had already asked myself how I could keep my own archives, but never precisely. In 2014, the idea of this foundation germinated, then became more precise before becoming very concrete today” explains François Valentiny. Over the years, the architect has retained his sketchbooks, sketches, numerous models of architectural projects, as well as drawings, plaster, paintings, sculptures, which point to the plastic research he always carried out in parallel. 
“Over several months, we scanned a large number of drawings, started an inventory of what might be the basis of the future foundation” explains the architect. 
“This represents more than 4000 drawings which until now were stored in crates, in storage. With the foundation, it is also an 
opportunity to show the public this research, to ask the question about exposure and transmission. I sometimes regret that I can only find three or four representative pieces of the work of an architect. I find it interesting that we can also show a wider set of a work”.

It took almost a year to go through the various administrative steps, to unite a group of persons from different institutions for the Foundation’s board of directors: Luc Braconnier, in charge of the Ministry of Culture, Ben Homan, Mayor of the municipality of Schengen, Gilles Estgen, first deputy to the communal council of the municipality of Schengen, GG Kirchner, partner of the Valentiny hvp Architect office, Fernand Valentiny, member of the family, Tatiana Fabeck, representative of LUCA Luxembourg Centre for Architecture, Rolf Tarrach, former president of the University of Luxembourg, Rainer Klump, current president of the University and Robert Dennewald, representing professionals in the industrial sector in Luxembourg.

Entirely financed by François Valentiny, the Valentiny hvp Architect office and donations, the Foundation does not receive any public money, which did not prevent the construction of a specific place to host this new structure.

A building for the Foundation

Historically based in Remerschen, François Valentiny‘s architectural achievements punctuate the architectural face of the village as he has built numerous public and private buildings there: youth hostel, primary school, museum of Europe and its esplanade, Biodiversum in Haff Remich, restaurants, private dwellings, etc. So, it is naturally in Remerschen that the Valentiny Foundation has also found its place. The building was inaugurated in October 2016.

“The idea was to reuse an old building located in the vineyards, designed by my office for the technical services of the municipality and for which they had no longer any use, explains François Valentiny. In the end, this idea did not succeed and the municipality suggested that I invest the old school in the village, the school that I myself attended when I was a child. We added an extension in the courtyard which hosts the exhibition rooms, a space for cultural activities”.

The extension is a wooden frame, covered with plaster, „which allowed us to build very quickly, in less than a year“. A body of water welcomes visitors. There one finds organic forms, characteristic of the architecture of the office, undulating walls, „which simply follow the shape of the courtyard”, a great presence of natural light which enters in part through openings in the form of shuttles, a beautiful double height in the main exhibition hall which gives a certain majesty to the place. On the mezzanine, the exhibition continues, in a more intimate space. There is also a multipurpose room, „which can accommodate various events, conferences, meetings, projections, etc „ says GG Kirchner, partner at the Valentiny hvp architects office and director of the Foundation. 
The connection with the school still exists. The premises have been emptied, but the identity of the school is still present: the volume of the rooms and the distribution of the rooms have been preserved, as have the floor coverings and the fixtures. 

There is even an old painting of a class, the ultimate nod to the studious life that used to take place here. One of the façades of the building has however been opened to become an interior facade and thus conclude dialogue with the new extension, „These old classrooms lend themselves well to the organisation of workshops, the reception of small groups“ says GG Kirchner. This link with teaching is also very key in the objectives of the Foundation which puts the training of young persons at the heart of its activities, whether they are schooled in the village or already undertaking architectural studies at university. 

Exhibitions and cultural activities

One of the activities proposed within the Foundation will be the organisation of exhibitions that will present the prolific work of François Valentiny. Visitors can now admire models of projects, realised or not, preparatory drawings, drawings by hand, but also many works related to plastic work. Because François Valentiny is also a painter, draftsman, sculptor. „The Valentiny Foundation is a place open to other creators. We will soon invite Wilhelm Holzbauer, former professor of François Valentiny and his friend architect Gustav Peichl to present their work„ says GG Kirchner. „We are also setting up atypical partnerships with small museums in the region: the European Museum in Schengen, the folklore and wine museum A Possen in Bech-Kleinmacher, the Kulturhuef in Grevenmacher, the Biodiversum in Remich, the wine museum in Ehnen and the Luxembourg Aviation Museum in Mondorf-les-Bains”.

But the activities of the foundation do not end there. „We would also like to host conferences, workshops and educational events, insists the director”. This space is a place that should allow us to create new partnerships and host actions led by others. It is also a place that the inhabitants of the village can use for their cultural or family activities. This is why we have set up a catering space so we can be free and versatile in the use of this new equipment. This opens up the possibility of renting spaces for private events, parties and celebrations”.

A commitment to education

The second founding point of the Valentiny Foundation is support for education. „We plan to organise drawings courses for young persons „explains GG Kirchner. But the commitment does not end there. 
The foundation has created a prize: the Valentiny Foundation Award, which rewards training architects with scholarships. „For the first edition in 2015, we received 60 files from 13 different countries“ enthuses the architect. 
A partnership has been initiated with universities, including the University of Luxembourg. The first Summer School of the future Master of Architecture for the University of Luxembourg took place at the Foundation. „And other projects are under discussion“ says GG Kirchner. Partnerships are also being developed with the University of Trier, the De Tao Master Academy in Shanghai (where François Valentiny is a teacher), the Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur in Leipzig and the University of Kaiserslautern. 

A new tourist attraction

Finally, one of the last aspects that the Foundation wishes to develop is the tourist aspect.
The region already attracts many tourists who come to enjoy the natural beauties of the Mosellan landscapes and the pleasures of the fruits of the vine. „We can also develop another form of attractiveness around contemporary architecture“ explains François Valentiny. It is in this sense that guided tours can be organised to discover the achievements of the office as well as other constructions that deserve attention. The Foundation could thus participate in the tourist dynamism of the region and constitute a new centre of interest for the Luxembourg Moselle by attracting tourists interested in contemporary architecture.
Open Time
14:00 – 18:00 h (Montags geschlossen)
Valentiny Foundation 1