Adaptive reuse Architecture Museums Restoration

Heritage Parisian building rejuvenated by Tadao Ando opens as contemporary art museum housing Pinault collection

May 24, 2021

After close to three years of renovation and transformation by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, Bourse de Commerce building has opened as a new museum of contemporary art housing the Pinault collection. Located in the heart of Paris – with the Louvre to the southwest and the Pompidou Centre to the east – the Bourse de Commerce is part of the newly redesigned Les Halles district. It was built in the second half of the 18th century used to serve as a grains and commodities trading centre. Topped by a dome, the historic building has become one of the capital’s cultural and artistic centres, a bridge between heritage and contemporary creativity. Dedicated to art from the 1960s to today, the collection includes works by celebrated artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Cindy Sherman, Luc Tuymans and Marlene Dumas.

The self-taught Ando, known for the extensive use of daylight in his projects, has created the conditions for a dialogue between architecture and its context, between heritage and contemporary creation, between past and present, and between the collection and the visitor.​ The restoration has been done in a way to preserve the original features.​

“The circular design respecting the urban symmetry comprises a central Rotunda, and within it I inserted a nine-metre high concrete cylinder with a diameter of thirty metres. The Punta della Dogana project in Venice was born from a simple design: a geometrical shape surrounded by brick trees, while the spatial layout of the Bourse de Commerce consists of concentric circles and is designed to create an intense and more subtle dialogue between new and old,” shares Ando. “The inside of the cylinder houses a main exhibition space and an auditorium in the basement. The outer facade of the cylinder encloses a corridor, an internal passageway between the concrete wall and the facade of the original building designed by Henri Blondel. This internal passageway rises to the upper floor of the cylinder, providing access to a circular walkway. The frescos around the dome that illuminate the entire space seem to be the culmination of this series of spaces […] The structure of the old building is not only preserved, but it is alive, thanks to the creation within it of a new architecture that descends all the way down to the basement. It was a challenging construction project, but the team has created a remarkable structure.”

“It’s about regenerating a historic building: honouring a city’s past, which is steeped in its walls, and then placing another structure within that…”

Tadao Ando, on the renovation of the Bourse de Commerce

“The double staircases that were shown on the inside of the cylinder in the original sketch, were shifted to the outside of the concrete wall that they wind around today, like the fine skin of a carefully peeled fruit, running all the way from the basement up to the second floor of the building. They open onto landings that meet the old circular structure, without touching it, and provide access to all the exhibition galleries. The winding shape that rises through the historic floors adds to the Piranesian aesthetics of the space that consists entirely of the curves and enclosed perspectives so dear to Tadao Ando. On the walkway that crowns the cylinder, the visitor seems to levitate in front of the Bourse de Commerce’s facades and ornamentation, and the stucco that masks the beginning of the cupola and the vast painted panorama,” explain Lucie Niney and Thibault Marca, architects and project managers.

François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, commented: “This space is dedicated to creative freedom and daring, and will be a source of inspiration for everyone; for this is the role of art, and it will be shared with as many people as possible in this exceptional building.”

© Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier.​​

Photos: Maxime Tétard, Studio Les Graphiquants, Paris​​

You Might Also Like