Imrey Culbert + SANAA: Louvre-LENS

“The design is said to be reminiscent of the Louvre in Paris with its two outstretched wings. We conceived this new Louvre to be everything the Palais Louvre is not, and sought to create transparency both literally and figuratively.”

~ Imrey

AMNP recently received these images of the new Musee Louvre-LENS, which had its groundbreaking ceremony this past December. Co-designed by Imrey Culbert and SANAA, the new Louvre expansion will be located in the city of Lille in Northern France, and will include about 300,000 SF of new construction – roughly 75,000 SF of which will be devoted to new galleries and visitable storage spaces. The Louvre is apparently in desperate need of new space to store its ever-expanding collection, which seems to be one of the primary goals of this project.

Situated on a 153 acre site that sits at a slightly higher elevation than the surrounding areas, the museum will consist of a series of 5 single-storey, interconnected pavilions. Essentially simple boxes, the volumes play with transparency in a way familiar to SANAA’s previous work – creating a lightness and transparency that almost gives the effect of a single plane suspended over the landscape, as opposed to an actual volume.

Not all of the project is so open / transparent, however. Those spaces that need to be enclosed are to be clad in a highly polished anodized aluminum paneling, which will create a slightly distored reflection of the surroundings – making for a slightly surreal connection to the landscape.

“The two easternmost pavilions are the principal exhibition halls, one being the opaque Galerie du Temps (Gallery of Time) – a semi-permanent exhibition of artworks regardless of styles and places of origin and arranged in chronological order, which is a striking departure from the way art is exhibited in the Paris Louvre. The center pavilion, a square glass volume will serve as the main reception area and a public space for the local population and will house a multimedia library, museum store and cafeteria. An Introductory Gallery, accessible via a large staircase, is a place where visitors can peer down onto the museum’s reserves and the studios where artworks are prepared for display. The main storage area will be visitable by small groups of 15 people per tour. The next pavilion will house temporary exhibitions, and the final will house a 300-seat auditorium.”

You’ve got to love SANAA’s willingness and ability to push Modernism to the extreme – creating a building that is nothing but roof + glass. That, and this reflective aluminum cladding seems like it could be quite interesting, especially as seen from afar. I wonder if it will actually achieve a kind of dissolving-into-the-landscape effect – or if it will just look like a low-lying shiny metal box? We’ll see – but as its SANAA, I have high hopes that it will come out looking pretty dope.

::info+images provided by Susan Grant Lewin Associates::

Posted: January 11th, 2010
at 4:30pm by orangemenace


Categories: architecture,museum

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