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Work starts on Foster's contest-winning Narbonne scheme

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Construction has begun on Foster + Partners’ proposed new museum for Roman artefacts in Narbonne, southern France

The AJ100 practice saw off competition from a shortlist which included David Chipperfield Architects, Dutch outfit Neutelings Riedijk Architecten, Paris-based Jacques Ferrier Architectures and German firm Auer + Weber + Assoziierte, to win the job in 2012.

The museum, named MuRéNA, the Musée de la Romanité Narbonne, is based around a collection of more than 1,000 ancient stone funerary blocks recovered from the French city’s Roman walls.

The display of the stone blocks separates the scheme’s public galleries from its restoration spaces.

The single-storey museum building also includes a mezzanine level for administrative offices, a multimedia education centre, and a library. 

Spencer de Grey, co-head of design at Foster + Partners, said: ‘The ground-breaking ceremony is always a momentous occasion for a project as it signifies the moment work begins on site.

‘Inspired by the natural setting and the fascinating collection of Roman artefacts, the building hopes to strengthen the connections with the landscape and the region’s incredible past, as well as being a major centre for research, restoration and interpretation of the story of antiquity of the wider region. We look towards the completion of the museum with great anticipation.’

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