Abbey of Noirlac
The abbey of Noirlac was built in sandstone and is situated between the slope of the Central Massif and the riverbed of a haunch of the Cher. It is a Cistercian Abbey etymologically meant as what finds is birth in a marsh. It is a “citel “ flower, a bulrush in the surrounding “locum horris et vaste solitudinis” it is a human artifice meant to be a mystical place and to reclaim island and uncultivated grounds.
What first strikes you as soon as you are near the Abbey is the integrity of its architectural plan, the proportion of spaces, forged on a human scale, for that man that needs only inwardness. Strikes the integrity of the materials the monument is made of, the purity of the wall hangings, the original simplicity, the care used in eliminating any superfetation is something amazing.
The study of the historical structure highlights the fact that , even if it wasn’t probably isolated as it was the rule for monasteries, it had to respect the strict environmental constraints. Still now this structure have to live with the storm water drain that scours the upper hill and the floods of the river flowing along the southern side of the Abbey. That explains the existence of a collecting channel of servage and runoff on the easter-western axis which drains all the northern side. That is why of the presence of another water collection and conveying system diagonally crossing all the area as well as of other artifices adopted to guarantee the healthiness of the location.
The complex represents a medieval Cistercian built as a physical and intellectual built of a man who resist and converts nature. A monastery built as a rational defense against a “ disordered nature” . Considering all this , entering into nature, stopping , resisting it acquires a particular meaning.
Nature is no longer considered a danger, the man that symbolically and consciously lets himself be invaded by marsh waters and by indigenous plants and permits Flora to lead him inside a wood where the cathedral is made of beeches as a natural display of mysticism.
The vegetational ribbon
If you start your walking from the Stream of Dead Waters (1), stars a ribbon of bushes and marshy plants, small trees, unmoved grass reaching the abbey trough the field on the southern side (2), rises the embankment near the huge limes (3) and at the south-est corner it gets in, from a service door in the “chauffoir” room (4). Reaches the cloister and from the est side goes into the Chapter Room (5),
It crosses the Cloister westbound,
It enters in the “Cellier” and and comes out of it into the field situated on the western side of the monastery,
It reaches the northern perimeter wall
It oversteps the wall and reaches the road through a wooden bridge,
It crosses the field north of the road and then it reaches a portion of the existing wood.
Inside the wood the ribbon of bushes draws the plant of a cathedral.
Inside the wood the plant of the abbey is designed trough a light deforestation, the pruning of some branches, the moving of the grass and the tracking with a natural pigmentation and led illumination.
Type of plant propagation related to architecture (shape and material sandstone).
Inside the abbey a process of plant propagation is already present, a demonstration of the incessant trials od penetration of the nature.
Sandstone stones inside the abbey
Views of the cloister
Wood species that can be used
La Sérapias langue: Serapias lingua : orchidea
La Grande douve: Ranunculus lingua
Le Peuplier noir: Populus nigra Pioppo nero
La Gentiane pneumonanthe : Gentiana pneumonanthe
L'Étoile d'eau: Damasonium alisma pianta acquatica , anfibia
Oak, lime, beech, hornbeam, sorb, birch ,(Sorbus torminalis)