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Louvre Lens Pavilion

2012 (unbuilt)

Thomas McIntosh

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Commission for the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais to design a pavilion for a permanent version of Ondulation for the new Louvre museum in Lens, France. This project, which along with some of the landscaping around the museum was ultimately cut due to a budget shortfall, was nonetheless fascinating and rewarding. The principle challenge was to find a design strategy and aesthetic for the building that wouldn’t impinge on the design mandates of the architects Sanaa (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa) and equally renowned landscape architects Mosbach Paysagistes, or offend the sensibilities of their institutional and governmental clients (the Louvre and the Regional and National French governments) while meeting the requirements of monumentality and functionality of a permanent pavilion to house a large artwork. Thomas McIntosh, working with another architect, Pascal Bertholio from France, with help from a third, Salvatore Chillari from Switzerland, came up with three proposals. The one that was chosen represents a kind of anti-architecture or an architecture of self-effacement where the visitor follows a 50 meter pathway that gradually sinks into an artificial lake towards the building submerged below its surface.