October 5, 2005
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Images Courtesy Imrey Culbert/Sanaa
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa and
their Tokyo-based architecture firm, Sanaa, along with museum-design
specialists Celia Imrey and Tim Culbert, and landscape architect
Catherine Mosbach, have been selected from among 120 entrants
to design the Louvre's first satellite museum. It will be
located in the coal mining town of Lens, in northern France.
The jury's final decision was reportedly close. Work under
consideration included projects by Zaha Hadid, and Rudy Ricciotti
(who is currently designing the Louvre's Islamic Gallery with
Mario Bellini). Long-time French Minister of Culture and jury
member, Jack Lang, referred to the design as "an anti-Guggenheim
[Museum]," and noted that, "this will be the first
time that a woman [Sejima] will construct an important public
monument in France."
The $140 million project, which includes a landscaped park,
sprawls over an 153-acre site that was formerly a mine. Nine
one to three story buildings are set into the sloping terrain.
Polished steel facades mirror the landscape, while northern
light is filtered through glass roofs. Although the plan of
palatial Paris Louvre is symmetrical and ordered, the Lens
annex is fluid and decentralized. Along with administration
and temporary exhibition space, about 500 art works, taken
out of the Louvre's storage, will provide a semipermanent
collection, to be rotated every three years. The museum is
set to open in 2009.