Elizabeth de Portzamparc completes futuristic Roman museum next to ancient amphitheatre

The soft and horizontal undulations, the predominance of glass, the transparence and the lightness contrast with the verticality of the arena’s stone arches
– Elizabeth de Portzamparc

A futuristic home has been built for a Roman museum in the French city of Nîmes – in stark contrast to the real-life Roman amphitheatre next door.

Construction has been completed ahead of the opening of the Musée de la Romanité de Nîmes in June 2018, with 5,000 exhibits from a collection of 25,000 set to move in over the coming months.

Architect Elizabeth de Portzamparc is behind the striking, fluid, design, which seeks to contrast the ancient heritage of the Arena of Nîmes amphitheatre with contemporary architecture.

The museum has a transparent ground floor from which visitors can view the Arena, topped by a shimmering glass façade. From a distance, the building appears to be hovering above the ground.

“Designing light architecture, made possible by current technology, seemed the obvious thing to me, as well as expressing the differences between these two forms of architecture through a dialogue based on their complementarity,” said de Portzamparc.

“The soft and horizontal undulations, the predominance of glass, the transparency and the lightness contrast with the verticality of the arena’s stone arches and the imposing mass that has stood there for nearly two millennia.

“As a result, on one side of the site, there is a large cylindrical volume surrounded by 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 distinctive exterior supports 6,708 glass strips across a surface of 2,500sq m (27,000sq ft). Each holds seven screen-printed square tiles, created to evoke the Roman mosaics exhibited inside the museum and to create a sense of movement through the changing reflections of light during the day.

Inside, slender columns are distributed to maximise exhibition spaces and to form a monolithic ensemble without expansion joints. The flat surfaces of the interior simplify the primary building structure, allowing for free expression of the curves in the glass panels on the exterior.

In addition to galleries dedicated to Roman history and presence in the city, there is a 180-capacity auditorium, a bookshop, a documentation centre, a restaurant, a cafe and 3,400sq m (36,600sq ft) of gardens. A roof terrace offers visitors a panoramic view over the entire city, with the Arena in the foreground.

While the building is already complete, the installation of the collections and the museum’s opening are scheduled for June 2018. It will exhibit 5,000 works, out of a collection of around 25,000 pieces.

The museum has been built to anchor the city’s cultural expansion, attracting tourists from home and abroad. The metropolitan government has provided €35.8m (US$42m, £32m) of the project’s total €59.5m (US$70m, £53m) budget.

Elizabeth de Portzamparc  Nîmes  architecture  design  France  Arena of Nîmes 
A futuristic home has been built for a Roman museum in the French city of Nîmes – in stark contrast to the real-life Roman amphitheatre next door. Construction has been completed ahead of the opening of the Musée de la Romanité de Nîmes in June 2018, with 5,000 exhibits from a collection of 25,000 set to move in over the coming months. Architect Elizabeth de Portzamparc is behind the striking,
CLD,VAT,HAM,AAC,ARC,DES
The design seeks to contrast the ancient heritage of the Arena of Nîmes with contemporary architecture / Serge Urvoy
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7010     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7010     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Alliance Leisure Services Ltd
The company’s core business is the provision of facility development and support for local authorities, educational establishments and leisure trusts that want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Mahdavi designed pastel interiors for the recently opened Laduree store and cafe in Tokyo
After working for Christian Liaigre in Paris, Mahdavi launched her practice in 1999
"I never thought it was a talent. I just did it very naturally, without thinking"

The ‘queen of colour’ on her nomadic childhood, being fearless and choosing the exact right shade of pink for the Sketch Gallery restaurant

A large sheltered, open air canopy is key to the design. It will host a variety of activities
"Like other cultural institutions, libraries provide something that the internet cannot: genuine human interaction"

How excitingnewprojects arechanging theface oflibrarydesign

Wellness: Hidden treasure
"True luxury is about preserving the soul of an incredible destination"

KimMegsonvisitstheaward-winning ChabléYucatánResort&Spa

WeWork’s Rise gym was designed by Brittney Hart
Dror Benshetrit and Di-Ann Eisnor will head up the team
"We will work to fuse nature, design, technology, and community in our cities in order to measurably improve the lives of citizens"

High profile design hirings for the We Company

cladkit product news
Mater partners with Ditzel family to create eco-friendly furniture using reclaimed plastic
The furniture uses plastic from recycled fishing nets
Lauren Heath-Jones
Mater, an ethical design brand based in Denmark, has launched a furniture collection made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean. ...
Alusid's Sequel collection combines craftsmanship and sustainability says founder
The Sequel collection is billed as the 'most waste-efficient and sustainable' on the market
Lauren Heath-Jones
Alusid, a creator of eco-friendly surfaces, has partnered with Parkside to launch the Sequel range, the brand's first collection of ...
Crown overhaul changing rooms at Saunton Sands spa
Crown Sports Lockers installed rain of Nebraska Oak clothes lockers with RFID Digilocks in the changing rooms
Lauren Heath-Jones
Saunton Sands Hotel in Devon, UK, has completed a £2m expansion of its spa and wellness facilities. The upgrade included ...
cladkit product news
Paul Kelley pushes 'technical boundaries' with modular furniture cube system
The system is designed to enable users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, where they are in complete control of the design and function of their furniture
Lauren Heath-Jones
British designer Paul Kelley has created a modular magnetic cube furniture system that enables users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, ...
Baux creates plant-based acoustic panels
Baux has worked with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology to create Baux Acoustic Pulp, a plant-derived acoustic solution
Lauren Heath-Jones
Baux, an acoustic products brand based in Sweden, has developed a line of biodegradable acoustic panels, using a plant-based material ...
Duravit launches Tempano shower trays
The Tempano trays feature a state-of-the-art design that combines a linear slope with a high drainage rate
Lauren Heath-Jones
Duravit, a Germany-based bathroom fixtures company, has launched Tempano, a series of easy-to-install shower trays for the home. Available in ...
cladkit product news
Volvo partners with Reef Lab Designs to encourage ocean biodiversity
The tiles are made from marine-grade concrete and recycled plastic fibres
Lauren Heath-Jones
Car manufacturer Volvo has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create an environmentally-friendly ...
Tom Dixon Studio to relaunch iconic Pylon chair
Pylon was first designed more than 20 years ago
Lauren Heath-Jones
Originally conceived in his metal workshop in the early 90's, the Pylon chair was Dixon's attempt to create the world's ...
BD Barcelona Design reveals Cristallo by the late Alessandro Mendini
Cristallo was the last design from acclaimed designer and architect Alessandro Mendini
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design Studio BD Barcelona Design has released Cristallo, a limited-edition cabinet designed by the late architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates