Musée de la Romanité

Musée de la Romanité by Elizabeth de Portzamparc




Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

A few days ago, the building that will house the Musée de la Romanité was delivered to the city of Nîmes. Prior to the installation of its collections and its forthcoming 2018 opening, this building and its unique façade are being unveiled facing the Arenas of Nîmes (the Roman amphitheater).

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

In the midst of Nîmes’s exceptional vestiges of antiquity, Elizabeth de Portzamparc has set up a unique architectural dialog between this ancient heritage and contemporary architecture.

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

Facing the Arenas, the museum’s design imbues this major site of classical antiquity with a new dynamism and a sense of complementarity, ensuring its rightful place in the city’s history.

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

The soft and horizontal undulations, the predominance of glass, the transparence and the lightness of the Musée de la Romanité contrast with the verticality of the Arenas’ stone arches and their imposing mass that has stood there for nearly two millennia.

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

On one side, a large cylindrical volume surrounded by the stone verticals of the Roman arches, on the other a large square volume, which seems to be floating and entirely draped in a toga of pleated glass.

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

The façade of the Musée de la Romanité is designed to highlight the building’s lightness, heighten the floating sensation and create visual tension with the Arenas. It supports 6,708 glass strips covering a surface of 2,500 m². Each strip holds seven screen-printed square tiles.

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Aldo Ancieta / © Serge Urvoy

The museum’s collections directly inspired the design of the façade. The glass squares subtly evoke Roman mosaics, which are among the major pieces of the collections (e.g. mosaic of “Penthea”).

Musée de la Romanité
Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth de Portzamparc

This work within a work and the kinetic effects of this unique façade accentuate the sensation of movement resulting in its constant metamorphosis as the day goes by and from one season to the next, creating a dialog with the city by reflecting its colors, the light and the surrounding city life.

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

The Musée de la Romanité, the city’s future 21st century heritage, is designed to blend with the universal values of Nîmes and built around its Roman monuments, restoring their role as anchors and points of reference for the city.

Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

It is part of a wider program of preservation and enhancement of the material and immaterial heritage of the City of Nîmes. The future museum will be a key element of a coherent cultural and holistic policy at the service of a tourism which is open to the world. Source and photos Courtesy of Elizabeth de Portzamparc.

Musée de la Romanité
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Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Ville de Nîmes
Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Ville de Nîmes
Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy
Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy
Musée de la Romanité
Photo © Serge Urvoy

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