Louvre Lens - SANAA
Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizwa (of SANAA) are a duo, whose work I’ve admired for sometime now. Pictured here is one of their most recent cultural projects, situated in Lens, Northern France, a city known for its UNESCO World Heritage Coal Piles. The gallery building was commissioned by the Louvre Museum, and carries on an emerging and noteworthy trend by major cultural institutions in Paris, of decentralising the Parisian choke-hold on French cultural artifacts.
The building and landscape have been designed to be sensitive to site, SANAA’s response is a uniquely seamless and transient building, almost ‘non-existence’ in character, that distracts little from the surrounding context.
“In order to visually and physically open up the site, the main glassed area features a hollow in the core of the building. This delicate glass box serves as an entry hall to the museum and is a genuine public space for the city of Lens. It is transparent and opens up to several directions of the site, and it can be crossed through to get to different quarters of the city. The spaces are contained by a façade of anodized, polished aluminium that reverts a blurred and fuzzy image of the site’s contours, reflections that change as one strolls by depending on the landscaping and available light.” SANAA via DETAIL Online
The use of building suits SANAA’s refined and subtractive approach to architecture very well. The firm has an acute knowledge of detailing and minimalism that I can sometimes find too lifeless for private residences, but particularly apt for cultural/ commercial projects.