Snøhetta has been tapped to lead the transformation of France’s Natural History Museum of Lille following an international competition.
The project supports Lille’s ambition to redefine its university district through a program of new developments, renewal, and preservation.
Snøhetta says their design will enable an “ambitious scientific program” for the museum while enhancing its ability to store and maintain the tens of thousands of pieces in its now 200-year-old collection.
"In such a significant city with long-established traditions within culture and arts, we are excited to work on a project which is paying homage to and respecting the heritage as well as looking ahead,” the firm’s co-founder, Kjetil Trædal Thorse, said at the announcement. “Through our design, we aim to revitalize the museum as a landmark and aspire to find the most sustainable solutions, contributing to the City of Lille's sustainability goals.”
The project’s scope will reportedly entail the removal of recent extensions to the three building parts of the museum, preservation of the original facades, and addition of circulation areas and other flexible spaces inside. An interconnecting brick-clad extension will be included to better unify the museum’s exhibition areas, storage spaces, and technical operations while increasing accessibility to the site.
A range of sustainability measures will also define the project, including the installation of a series of photovoltaic panels, a rainwater collection system, use of repurposed and bio-sourced materials, and the addition of new tree-shaded courtyards that create “cool islands” in the center of each building.
Exhibition designer Adeline Rispal will play a vital role in enacting a program of new display methods “associating transversality with a holistic approach to science.”
There is no construction cost available at press time. Snøhetta expects the project to be completed by the end of 2025.
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