RSHP has unveiled the urban and architectural design for the new Bayeux Tapestry Museum. The intervention is created to house and display the Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidered cloth measuring 70 meters in length and depicting the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and culminating in the Battle of Hastings. The almost 1000 years-old artifact is also included in UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” list. The project proposes a contemporary extension of the 17th-century seminary where the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux is located.
The former Bayeux seminar building is proposed for restoration, with the project retaining and celebrating its key heritage elements. The building is, however, adapted to its new uses. As the historic and newly generated elements display their character clearly, this creates a dialogue between the different ages of the structure.
RSHP’s project seeks to create an engaging visitor experience by creating spaces that are easily legible and by facilitating intuitive wayfinding throughout the museum. The space that houses the Tapestry adapts its geometry to the different spatial qualities needed to contemplate the 70-meter by 50-centimeter artifact. The shape of the intervention is also influenced by the topography of the site, aligning with the existing building axes, but introducing dynamism through its roofline. The accent on the horizontality of the building also contributes to breaking down its perceived size.
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According to the architects, the visitor’s journey has been one of the leading principles guiding the architectural solution. As the core of the exhibition is centered on a single object, it was important to multiply and vary the nature of the visitor's encounter with the Tapestry. Thus, the exhibition orchestrates a series of dynamic perspectives through changes in the geometry of the space, lighting, and atmosphere. Additional stories and artifacts related to this central piece are presented in the exhibition loop, which connects the extension and the former seminary.
It’s both a privilege and a responsibility, to have been offered the opportunity to design the museum that will house this unique, fragile, emblematic object. As a British practice with a long history of working in France, there’s poetry in being able to contribute to a project that symbolizes the deep connections between our two countries, renewing these bonds and helping the next generations in their rediscovery of the tapestry, itself a unique embodiment of this shared past. - Stephen Barrett, Partner, RSHP
Recently, RSHP has won the Jean Moulin competition held in La Défense, Paris, to design a low-carbon mixed-use development as part of Paris’ new business district initiative. Similarly, the office has also won the international competition for a net zero operational carbon business center in Vilnius, Lithuania, as well as the competition to design the Terminal 4 Bao’an International Airport in Shenzhen, China.