a major fine arts museum in western france has re-opened its doors to the public, following a transformation by london-based architecture practice stanton williams. after being closed for six years, the renovated musée d’arts de nantes incorporates several key extension buildings alongside the original 19th century palais and 17th century oratory chapel. the additional 4,000 square meters of gallery space allows the museum to exhibit more of its contemporary art collection. 

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
the museum’s new archive building viewed from the passing street
all images by hufton + crow, unless otherwise stated

 

 

in developing the project, stanton williams sought to introduce a contemporary layer to the site’s existing historical monuments. establishing a democratic and welcoming environment, the musée d’arts de nantes now includes an auditorium, a library, new educational facilities, an archive, and an external sculpture court. meanwhile, the new landscape design connects the museum to the adjacent place de oratoire and botanical gardens.

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
a consistent palette of materials has been applied throughout the scheme

 

 

a new extension, named the ‘cube’, is connected to the palais with a spacious gallery spanning the cours dupré. here, four floors of exhibition space are linked by wide gaps that allow natural light to enter the building. on the south side of the extension, a staircase made of marble and translucent laminated glass provides a visual counterpoint to the palais’ existing staircase.

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
the institution’s existing architecture has been updated

 

 

a consistent palette of materials has been applied throughout the scheme, a gesture that helps create the impression that the museum is one monolithic volume carved from a single block of stone. comprising 350 km of translucent silicone threads, a site-specific installation by susanna fritscher occupies the museum’s existing patio area, framing the newly renovated space.

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
the museum was closed for a total of six years while construction work was carried out

 

 

as part of the museum’s inaugural exhibition program, stanton williams has also curated an exhibition that details the processes involved in the making of the project. two films will feature in the exhibition; the first documents the design process behind the new museum through sketches, drawings and model making, while the second time-lapse film, by producer and artist ben cullen williams, captures the journey of light as it travels through the revamped institution.

 

musée d’arts de nantes opens to the public on june 23, 2017.

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
gallery spaces are naturally and brightly illuminated

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
the palais’ grand staircase

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
an installation by artist susanna fritscher occupies the museum’s patio area

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
the work comprises 350km of translucent silicone threads
image by stefano graziani

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
a staircase consists of a suspended curtain wall made of marble and translucent laminated glass

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
the complex now incorporates an auditorium, a library, and new educational facilities

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
the external sculpture courtyard sits between the archive and the ‘cube’

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
stanton williams sought to add a contemporary layer to the site’s historical monuments

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantesmusée d’arts de nantes opens to the public on june 23, 2017

stanton williams musée d'arts de nantes
an architectural model of the completed musée d’arts de nantes
image © jack hobhouse

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