The building that will house the Musée de la Romanité and its unique façade are being unveiled
Source: 2Portzamparc , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Fri October 13, 2017 12:54 pm

INTERNATIONAL. On 31st of August, the building that will house the Musée de la Romanité was delivered to the city of Nîmes. Prior to the installation of its collections and its forthcoming 2018 opening, this building and its unique façade are being unveiled facing the Arenas of Nîmes (the Roman amphitheater).

In the midst of Nîmes’s exceptional vestiges of antiquity, Elizabeth de Portzamparc has set up a unique architectural dialog between this ancient heritage and contemporary architecture.

Facing the Arenas, the museum’s design imbues this major site of classical antiquity with a new dynamism and a sense of complementarity, ensuring its rightful place in the city’s history. The soft and horizontal undulations, the predominance of glass, the transparence and the lightness of the Musée de la Romanité contrast with the verticality of the Arenas’ stone arches and their imposing mass that has stood there for nearly two millennia. On one side, a large cylindrical volume surrounded by the stone verticals of the Roman arches, on the other a large square volume, which seems to be floating and entirely draped in a toga of pleated glass.

The façade of the Musée de la Romanité is designed to highlight the building’s lightness, heighten the floating sensation and create visual tension with the Arenas. It supports 6,708 glass strips covering a surface of 2,500 m². Each strip holds seven screen-printed square tiles. The museum’s collections directly inspired the design of the façade. The glass squares subtly evoke Roman mosaics, which are among the major pieces of the collections (e.g. mosaic of “Penthea”).

This work within a work and the kinetic effects of this unique façade accentuate the sensation of movement resulting in its constant metamorphosis as the day goes by and from one season to the next, creating a dialog with the city by reflecting its colors, the light and the surrounding city life.

The Musée de la Romanité, the city’s future 21st century heritage, is designed to blend with the universal values of Nîmes and built around its Roman monuments, restoring their role as anchors and points of reference for the city. It is part of a wider program of preservation and enhancement of the material and immaterial heritage of the City of Nîmes. The future museum will be a key element of a coherent cultural and holistic policy at the service of a tourism which is open to the world.

Photo Captions:
1. (Main photos)  Musée de la Romanité - Photo credits: ©Serge Urvoy
2. (inset photo)  For illustrative purposes only (File photo)

About Elizabeth de Portzamparc

In her activity as architect and urbanist, Elizabeth de Portzamparc designs buildings to serve as architectural symbols supporting new values and powerful urban landmarks that skillfully structure and inhabit the places where they are built. Open to the city and its inhabitants, the projects of the Musée de la Romanité in Nîmes, the Grand Documentary Facility (GED) of Aubervilliers and the Gare du Bourget were imagined as places for “living in” that one can easily make one’s own and whose architecture is designed to create stimulating local spaces enhancing users’ quality of life.

Her teams apply her thoughts about the identity of cities and metropolises to bring out the qualities of the context into which they are inserted. It is sober, light and refined architecture, based on lightening of masses and the economy of forms and materials, while privileging spaces with double exposure and a powerful relationship with nature. These characteristics come together to create an atmosphere communicating easily identifiable collective values and setting up a dialog with the surrounding cityscape.

Thanks to this dual sociological and architectural approach, she combines requirements of a social, urban and ecological scope with forms offering optimal conditions of use, in a coherent and legible approach which is evident at every scale she works on. Her projects are characterized by innovative flexibility and architectural layouts serving as vectors of urban sociability on the scale of both the building and the city while also emphasizing total spatial interconnections.

Within the Atelier International du Grand Paris, Elizabeth de Portzamparc has continued to pursue her research carried out for the last 30 years on the identity of places, local life and territorial links, all of which are essential sources of data to draw upon for thinking about how to build the metropolis of today. Within this framework she also advocates pioneering proposals for mixed use, prefabricated, flexible and sustainable housing. 

In addition to architects, urbanists and set designers, her office includes a multidisciplinary team (sociologists and graduates from the Institut de Sciences Politiques) specialized in research on environmental and social subjects.



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