Client: Region Nord Pas de Calais
Location: Northern France
Size: 28,000 sqm /300,000 sq ft
Cost: €150 million
Status: Open to the public in December 2012
LEED: HQE ("High Quality Environmental standard")
Awards: Silver T-Square Prize (Le Moniteur)
Key Role: Celia Imrey, design and managing principal - Imrey Culbert
Link to Web Content: arcspace, Bustler, Architectural Record, Dezeen, examiner, Archinect, The SuperSlice, Wikipedia, AbsoluteArts,
The award-winning Louvre Lens Museum that opened to the public in 2012 was the result of an international competition that included Zaha Hadid and Rudi Richotti as finalists. Celia Imrey, a design and managing principal of Imrey Culbert was in charge of the Imrey Culbert New York and Paris teams and was the primary client contact with the Louvre and the regional government for the project. Imrey Culbert was the co-author of the building with SANAA, and was the lead designer for the galleries.
The Louvre-Lens is located in Lens, Pas-de-Calais, Northern France, approximately 200 kilometers north of Paris. It displays objects from the collections of the Musée du Louvre that are lent to the gallery on a medium or long term basis. The Louvre-Lens annex reflects the current trend of decentralization of French cultural institutions.
The design, a museum-park, imagines building volumes akin to the long wings of the Louvre Paris spread out into the landscape. Central to its core is a transparent 4000 sq. meter “Halle” that displays all the main museum functions normally hidden from immediate view: the member services, the storage areas, and classrooms. The facades are of single anodized aluminum sheets and full height insulated low-e glass. The floors are poured-in-place concrete.
The highlight of the building is perhaps the unique “Grande Galerie,” the main wing of the Louvre-Lens, a single volume that runs for over 120 meters to the East of the reception hall and has a spectacular continuously open area of 3000 sq meters. With its gently curving side walls of anodized aluminum, where no painting or objects are attached, and its continuous zenithal sky-lit roof, the Gallery of Time displays a full panorama of the Louvre’s spectacular and varied collections arrayed in their chronology. The essential concept for the space was to float each object within its own space and to present the objects within the same light as the visitors, thus creating an intimacy and accessibility normally not achieved with dramatically lit or grouped art objects.
The satellite museum also includes a large theatre, temporary galleries, and visitor-guided storage and conservation areas directly below and accessible from the main hall building itself. The “Visitable Storage” speaks to the dual mission of preservation and display.
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