French studio LAN recently won a design competition to revamp the Grand Palais Exhibition Center in Paris. Originally built for the 1900 World Expo, the ornate exhibition center is known for its large barrel-vaulted iron and glass ceilings. LAN plans to give the center a flexible, modern renovation that should last for many years to come.
The Grand Palais is a famous historic site in Paris that holds a number of worthwhile attractions, including an exhibition hall and science museum. Inspired by London’s Crystal Palace, the grand hall is 240 meters long and built with iron, steel, and glass, while the rest is a palace of classical stone with Art Nouveau iron work. After a long career of many famous events, the time has come to modernize the center to make it more useful. LAN’s winning design will “complete and strengthen its formal logic through interventions that return a sense of modernity to its whole, at the same time, respecting its traditional identity.”
First, both the northern and southern entrances will by updated with a pair of gentle ramps as part of the main entrance and a dedicated entrance for special exhibitions, and the restaurant will be built on the river side. A new ambulatory will be built to connect the Grand Nave and the rotunda of the Palais d’Antin. The existing galleries and halls will be revamped to improve circulation and flexibility for new exhibitions and a new live performance area will built into the Palais d’Antin. The center currently enjoys a plethora of natural light that streams down through the glass ceiling, but new bay windows and passageways will open it up even more. Visitors will also have access to the roof, a never-before feature, that will provide new vistas to enjoy the Paris skyline.
The entire project will be brought up to code and modernized with the future and flexibility in mind. A new parking garage will be added below the hall and a new climate control system installed. LAN has set a vision for the renovation centered around five main sustainable design values: Effectiveness, Sobriety, Strengthening Cultural Heritage, Minimal and Passive Intervention, and Remaining at the Service of Users.