Winning joint first prize in the recent competition hosted by the Louvre museum, Alberto Campo Baeza and Raphaël Gabrion have proposed a dark, cubic volume for the combined conservation facility and gallery to be built in Liévin. Though the final commission for the project was awarded to the other first place winner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the proposal by Campo Baeza and Gabrion offers an interesting take on the relationship between art and architecture.
The Musée du Louvre and the Nord-Pas de Calais region has selected Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) to build a new conservation and storage facility for the Louvre in Liévin, northern France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais). Built primarily for study and research, the 20,000-square-meter "landscape building" will feature a series of vaulted light-filled conservation studios and storage spaces topped with a lush green roof.
“The consortium of architects, headed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, has succeeded in taking the specific needs of properly preserving and accessing the Louvre’s collections, and turning them into a first-class architectural creation," said Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre.
In an article for the New York Times Rachel Donadio examines Masterworks vs. the Masses. From the Louvre in Paris to London's British Museum, Florence's Uffizi to the Vatican Museums, the increasing surge of visitors to these international cultural nodes "has turned many museums into crowded, sauna-like spaces." Balancing everyone's right to be "nourished" by cultural experiences with protecting and preserving the works of art in question is a very real problem. According to Donadio, "even when the art is secure, the experience can become irksome." With some museums seeing annual visitors of up to 6.7 million visitors (British Museum), addressing the issues faced by institutions that are a victim of their own success is becoming more and more pressing. Read the article in full here.