Palace of versailles

dominique perrault completes the renovation of the dufour pavilion at the château de versailles

dominique perrault has completed an extension to the dufour wing at the palace of versailles in france. forming a bold addition to the existing structure, the “dufour pavilion” aims to facilitate and simplify visitor entry through a single access point. the redevelopment creates two new public spaces, with administrative offices making way for a reception area between the royal court and the court of the princes, as well as a grand staircase leading to the gardens.

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image © vincent fillon / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

the narrowness of the interior has now disappeared: by digging a trench under the buildings and the courtyard of the princes, the redevelopment opens up new spaces on the ground floor and creates larger volumes on the garden level . the route begins and ends with the reception and the marble staircase along its golden prism: the two new spaces are thus linked like the clasp of a necklace.

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the reception area between the ‘royal court’ and the ‘cour des princes’
image © andré morin / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

the reception begins in the gallery of chandeliers on the ground floor of the old wing. this high-ceilinged space, which opens onto the adjoining courtyards, is the first room visitors see when entering the palace. after completing their visit, guests follow a lower path at garden level – below the court of the princes – which leads to a sequence of new rooms, including a bookshop, toilets and a cloakroom.

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a gold colored glass hallway brings natural light into the new underground space
image © andré morin / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

the focal point of the project is a gold colored glass hallway that brings natural light into the new underground space. acting as a large prism, glass panels reveal the facades of the old wing and the wide marble staircase that connects it. dominique perrault also revived the existing pavilion and building on their upper floors, where a restaurant and adjoining tea rooms now welcome visitors. meanwhile, the highest level hosts an auditorium, surrounded by adjoining rooms on either side.

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the high-ceilinged reception is the first room visitors see when entering the palace
image © vincent fillon / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

designed to welcome nearly six million annual visitors, the reception takes care of control and security measures, the allocation of tickets, the storage of luggage and the distribution of audioguides. the setting also offers guests with added understanding of the site’s historical context, accommodating new educational facilities. Importantly, the project also provides better services for visitors with disabilities. the project highlights the intrinsic qualities of classical architecture: under cover of immobility and symmetry, everything remains the same and yet everything changes. the historical heritage is finally preserved, while allowing new contemporary uses that remain to be invented.

see previous coverage of the project by designboom here.

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traffic area
image © vincent fillon / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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the metallic interventions underline the contemporary character of the project
image © andré morin / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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wall detail
image © andré morin / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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DPA’s signature use of mesh can be seen in the lighting details
image © vincent fillon / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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the auditorium
image © vincent fillon / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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the entrance and the reception hall on the ground floor
image © andré morin / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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the exit hall on the ground floor
image © andré morin / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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restaurant alain ducasse restaurant
image © vincent fillon / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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the bar highlighted with brass accents
image © vincent fillon / dominique perrault architecture / adagp

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the museum shop is located in the old cisterns of the museum
image © patrick tourneboeuf / blurred trend / oppic

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philip steven I conceive

October 05, 2016