The new Musée des Beaux-arts is situated between the old and new town on the periphery of a long green space, where the ancient city walls once stood. The Gallo- Roman gate and the modernist market hall located in the vicinity are evidence of Reims’ architectural history from antiquity to modern times. An excavation site with medieval findings is situated beneath the new museum.

The freestanding building is composed of three bars capped with mono-pitched roofs. Clad with marble slabs on the plinth section and glass ceramic panels in the upper area, the façade has a translucent quality. The light that passes through the marble infuses the space with a diaphanous atmosphere. A large hall, twelve metres in height, opens up to the city on three sides and spans the entire excavation site. This hall provides a threshold between inside and outside and is publicly accessible. Suspended bridges draw together the different routes into the building and lead across the archaeological findings into a foyer that overlooks the excavation site.

Ancillary services including an auditorium, cafeteria and cloakrooms adjoin the foyer. The art depot is located across two basement floors, while the exhibition rooms – displaying paintings, sculptures and objects from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century – progress upwards in chronological order. The main rooms, which are oblong in shape, can be easily subdivided. Smaller galleries devoted to different artists or collections branch off from the main gallery rooms. In addition to the galleries, a number of art education rooms and breakout spaces offer views over the town.

A library, sculpture garden and glimpses into the non-public restoration workshops enrich the museum experience. A large proportion of the exhibition space is naturally lit, while diffusing ceilings in the uppermost floor distribute the daylight evenly. The large façade areas in the first two floors make it possible to control the occurrence of side light – the preferred illumination for the exhibits on display – while individual windows offer visitors an occasional view of the cathedral.

credits

architect: David Chipperfield  |  team: David Chipperfield Architects, Alexander Schwarz, Martin Reichert  |  status: Competition (2012) Construction (2012 - 2017)  |  clasification: 1 rang  |  consultant: Otelio, 8‘/18“ – Concepteurs et Plasticiens lumière  |  structural engineer: O.T.E. Ingénierie  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: 14.000 m2 large  |  types: cultural, museum  |  views: 5.374