The louvre

Fearing climate change, the Louvre’s new conservation center will house a third of the museum’s entire art collection

While only 36,000 works of art are on display at a time in the Louvre, its collection numbers more than 620,000 pieces, so this new center will house a third of its entire collections. The new center includes six storage areas, including dry and low humidity areas for metallurgy, a photography studio, workshop rooms, a varnish booth and study space. The center has large windows that let in natural light, and the rooftop garden features 27 varieties of seeds. More than 5,000 plants have been sown around the building.

Authorities expect all at-risk items to be transferred to the conservation center by mid-2021.

“The use of simple, elegant forms creates a powerful language of grand French fortresses that recycles a large, sloping park, which protects the artwork below,” said Graham Stirk, Senior Design Partner at RSHP. The center has a team of 15 people who take care of the works of art, the maintenance and security of the building and the administrative affairs. Since opening last fall, the pieces that have been shipped include Roman and Etruscan antiquities, as well as those from Egypt and Greece.

The museum will not move some of the more delicate archaeological finds (which are in fragments), or some of the drawings, prints and manuscripts which are too fragile to be exposed to light (they are in the museum’s Cabinet of Drawings, in a secure area protected from flooding).

Even though the museum has a flood risk prevention plan, this does not mean that there would not be enough time to protect all the works. The museum hopes the location will become one of Europe’s largest centers for art research, spanning over two acres of indoor space, as it’s more than just storage space , but a research center for museum experts, curators and scholars.

Similar art conservation centers have been built for museums in London and Amsterdam.