RSHP’s Louvre collections facility breaks ground

08 December 2017

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ new collections facility for the Louvre is officially underway after the first cornerstone was laid at a ceremony in Lievin on Friday.

The new building will house conservation and storage facilities housing approximately 250,000 works and protecting them from the risk of flooding. The research and study facility will be one of the most advanced in Europe, and will enhance France’s role in sharing scientific expertise with the world.

The centre is located in Lievin, near the five-year-old Louvre Lens museum, and will provide 18,500m² of floor space, of which 9,600m² will be reserved for storing works, and 1,700m² for study and conservation treatment.

Taking advantage of the natural slope in the terrain, the building emerges seamlessly from the landscape, defined by two pairs of concrete walls, reminiscent of the French military architecture of Vauban. Its green roof forms a gently-sloped visual extension to the Louvre Lens park, and a link in a green arc connecting Lievin to Lens itself.

The entire conservation and storage facility will be located on one level, with building materials chosen for their simplicity, resilience, and sobriety. The simple and elegant concrete frame provides a highly efficient structure and stable environmental conditions. It is equipped with a 400m² delivery bay, with spaces dedicated to packaging artworks located immediately next door. A broad corridor will serve as the backbone of the building. Dubbed the “boulevard of the artworks”, art will pass efficiently through it from the delivery bay en route to the areas dedicated to conservation and treatment.

The building will be completed in summer 2019, and works will begin to be transferred to the facility throughout the second half of the year.

At the ceremony, stones were laid by Francoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture; Xavier Bertrand, President of Region Hauts-de-France; Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musee du Louvre; Sylvain Robert, President of the Lens-Lievin urban area; and Laurent Duporge, mayor of Lievin.

Graham Stirk, senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and lead designer on the project said: “The work done here has enriched our architectural vocabulary. The Louvre-Lens building will blend almost completely into the landscape and marry the sloping form of the terrain. The single storey height of the building will also greatly facilitate the movement of the works.”

The Louvre collection facilities have been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Landscape architecture by Mutabilis Paysage & Urbanisme, the technical consultants are Egis Batiment Nord, the environmental consultants are Inddigo SAS, and VPEAS SAS provide contractor assistance in project management.