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RSHP wins contest to design €60m Louvre storage building

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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has won the job to design a new conservation and storage outpost for the Musee du Louvre

The €60 million building will use ‘cutting-edge technology’ to house artworks in stable climatic conditions while also providing space for researchers.

The 20,000m2 single-storey scheme, which sits next to SANAA’s Louvre Lens, features a landscaped roof and concrete walls for thermal mass.

Richard Rogers’ practice saw off competition from four other international practices to win the high-profile job.

The shortlist in full

  • Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • Corinne Vezzoni & Associates
  • Zig Zag Architecture
  • Neutelings Riedijk Architecten
  • Estudio Arquitectura Baeza

Around 250,000 works of art which are currently stored in 60 different locations will be transferred to the storage facility when it opens in 2018.

Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of the Musée du Louvre, said: ‘The consortium of architects, headed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, has succeeded in taking the specific needs of properly preserving and accessing the Louvre’s collections, and turning them into a first-class architectural creation.

‘The project proposes innovative solutions in terms of sustainable development and the building’s thermal mass. It is particularly commendable for providing a response that is perfectly in line with the plan to ensure stable climatic conditions for storing art, and for the organization of day-to-day interactions in a one-story space.

‘The architects also had people in mind when designing this light-filled space nestled in nature, taking into consideration the comfort level of the personnel who will work there, conducting research on the works of art. The new facility will be in perfect dialogue with its neighbour, the Louvre-Lens.’

Daniel Percheron, president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region added: ‘The project for a conservation and storage facility, designed by a Franco-British team, is in line with the threefold vision of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, with the support of Euralens: a cultural facility with the creation of the Musée du Louvre-Lens; economic renewal with the support of centres of excellence, notably in relation to the art and culture economy and art professions; and lastly, an environmental dimension with the onset of the “third industrial revolution.”’

RSHP Louvre

The architect’s view

It is our intent that the new conservation and storage facility for the collections of the Musée du Louvre tap into the full potential offered by our project’s functional program and its location as a natural extension of a green pathway. Our proposal calls for a sloping design in harmony with its surroundings, to provide a discreet solution for a building surface area of considerable scope, following the natural contours of the site. The new, inclined surface takes the diverse volumes of the collections into account organically, protecting them from extreme fluctuations of the outdoors, in a building with high thermal mass to ensure stable and optimal conditions indoors.

The western edge of this new park is designed to highlight the all-important conservation work of the Louvre’s exceptional collection in the most up-to-date facilities. A large window offers a view onto the activity that will take place in a broad band that serves as an interface with the collections in the heart of the building. A garden on the same level provides a welcome oasis, pleasant views and natural light to personnel. This area is connected to the collections via the “boulevard of artworks,” a logistical axis linking the reception area to the art reserves and delivery bay. This ample flow of movement constitutes the core of the building, bathing conservation areas in natural light and providing a space brimming with life, thanks to its capacity to host activities, but also temporary and social events.

RSHP Louvre

Project data

Type of project conservation and storage facility
Location Lievin, Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Client Musee du Louvre
Architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Landscape architect Mutabilis Paysage
Technical consultancy Egis Bâtiments Nord
Environmental consultancy Inddigo SAS
Economist VPEAS SAS
Start on site date 2017
Completion date 2018
Funding 51 per cent from Musee du Louvre and 49 per cent from the regional council of Nord-Pas de Calais
Cost €60 million

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