The Louvre Lens, a new outpost of the Musée du Louvre by Japanese architects SANAA and New York studio Imrey Culbert, opens to the public next week in Lens, northern France.

Comprising a chain of rectangular volumes, the 360-metre long-building has walls of glass and brushed aluminium that appear to be straight but actually feature subtle curves.

“The project avoids the strict, rectilinear shapes that would have conflicted with the subtle character of the site, as well as of free shapes that would have been overly restrictive from the perspective of the museum’s internal operations,” explain SANAA architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. “The slight inflection of the spaces is in tune with the long curved shape of the site and creates a subtle distortion of the inner areas while maintaining a graceful relationship with the artwork.”

SANAA and Imrey Culbert won a competition to design the museum back in 2006 and it is located on the site of an overgrown coal mine that had been closed down since the 1960s.

“In keeping with a desire to maintain the openness of the site and to reduce the ascendancy of this large project, the building was broken down into several spaces,” said Sejima and Nishizawa. “Through their size and layout, which follow the gradual changes in terrain elevation, the buildings achieve balance with the scale of the site and the shape of the paths and landscape features, evoking its mining history.”

via Dezeen, also more at Wallpaper

Photography by Iwan Baan and Hisao Suzuki