‘la samaritaine’ was a large department store in paris, which once occupied four buildings at the heart of the french capital. situated between the louvre and notre-dame, the store’s various art nouveau and art deco structures closed for safety reasons in 2005. a decade later, work began on a renovation project — led by japanese firm SANAA, édouard françois, and françois brugel — that would completely transform the complex. once complete in 2020, the site will include a department store, a 5-star 72 room-hotel, 96 social housing units, offices, and a children’s nursery.

la samaritaine sanaa
photographer salem mostefaoui has visited the site to document its current state
image © salem mostefaoui (also main image)

 

 

with construction now well underway, photographer salem mostefaoui visited the site to document its current state. the redevelopment of la samaritaine involves the conversion of a series of buildings — all owned by LVMH. at the center of the site is an art nouveau building, topped with an impressive glass roof, which was completed by frantz jourdain in the early 1900s. bookending the site is an art deco extension realized by henri sauvage in 1928 and a grouping of residential buildings that date back to the 17th century.

la samaritaine sanaa
SANAA has designed a rippling glass façade as part of the project
image © salem mostefaoui

 

 

as part of the renovation, all of the site’s historic façades are being restored to their former glory. along the rue de l’arbre-sec, jourdain’s multi-colored enameled tiles, once hidden beneath a stone-colored wash, are gradually being revealed. the most eye-catching addition to the site is a new façade designed by SANAA. the visually contrasting elevation develops a dialogue between indoors and out, softening the scale of the building behind it. located on rue de rivoli, the façade adjoins the 17th century residential buildings, which are undergoing refurbishment by françois brugel to provide social housing.

la samaritaine sanaa
the new elevation is perhaps the site’s most eye-catching addition
image © salem mostefaoui

 

 

SANAA’s intervention serves as the entrance to the department store, which spans the lower levels of three of the site’s four buildings. the retail areas culminate in the grand glass-roofed atrium inside one of the frantz jourdain-designed buildings, complete with its restored monumental staircase. meanwhile, paris-based architect édouard françois is responsible for transforming the henri sauvage building into a cheval blanc hotel overlooking the river seine.

la samaritaine sanaa
the cladding distorts reflections, presenting an abstract view of the city
image © salem mostefaoui

 

 

further residences will be contained within the other jourdain-designed building, where an early childhood center for up to 80 infants will occupy the second and third floors. offices will be found at the upper storeys of the same building, and will also occupy the rivoli building — including the space behind the SANAA-designed façade.

la samaritaine sanaa
offices and retail areas are found behind the new elevation
image © salem mostefaoui

 

 

the redevelopment involves replacing the site’s current inflexible layout with a configuration that promotes circulation and natural light. la samaritaine’s new architectural identity has been conceived as a juxtaposition of creation and preservation, with a keen focus on environmental sustainability. it is estimated that the renovation project will create 4,400 jobs in the neighborhood, with the revitalized department store set to welcome up to 30,000 daily visitors once it opens in 2020. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

la samaritaine sanaa
all of the site’s historic façades are being restored to their former glory
image © salem mostefaoui

la samaritaine sanaa
at the center of the site is an art nouveau building designed by frantz jourdain
image © salem mostefaoui

la samaritaine sanaa
jourdain’s original façades are gradually being restored and revealed to the public
image © salem mostefaoui

la samaritaine sanaa
the retail areas will culminate beneath the grand glass-roof of the atrium
image © salem mostefaoui

la samaritaine sanaa
restoration work continues inside the historic structures
image © salem mostefaoui

la samaritaine sanaa
édouard françois is responsible for transforming the henri sauvage building into new hotel
image © salem mostefaoui

la samaritaine sanaa
the SANAA-designed façade gently illuminated by night
image © salem mostefaoui

la samaritaine sanaa
layout of the site’s numerous programs
image courtesy of la samaritaine

 

 

project info:

 

name: la samaritaine
client: LVMH
architects: SANAA, édouard françois, françois brugel
location: paris, france
status: scheduled completion 2020
photography: salem mostefaoui

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