An architectural project
This architectural project of almost 1300m2 has been led by the architect Heleen Hart of the HBAAT agency (Jury d’Architecture Grand Prix 2021).
It is designed to meet the growing needs of the School itself, new developments in teaching, and changes in student practices.
The School has been reconfigured through refurbishment and the creation of new spaces within the Palais du Louvre itself:
- a remodelled library suitable for reimagined consultation practices
- the creation of a research centre for the School’s doctoral students
- the redevelopment of the cafeteria and of the School’s document and IT services.
An exceptional patronage
Majid Boustany first formed a partnership with the École du Louvre in 2016, with the creation of a grant for research on the artist Francis Bacon. He has now chosen to continue his philanthropic initiative by funding this ambitious programme of works which will become a key, strategic asset for the School and for its future national and international profile and influence.
In addition to this exceptional sponsorship, Majid Boustany has also gifted to the School two sculptures by Antony Gormley and an easel that once belonged to Francis Bacon. These pieces will take pride of place in the library and in its entrance hall.
The École du Louvre — a leading research centre open to the world
The École du Louvre is the venue of choice for the teaching of art history and museum studies, offering an education that is both innovative and exacting. Its thriving community of around eighty PhD students in itself poses new challenges for the School.
Although the School was already housed in exceptional premises — created in 1998 under the direction of Antoine Stinco as part of the Grand Louvre project — a major redevelopment had become timely.
It was this that prompted the ÉCOLE DU LOUVRE 2021-2022 project; a project designed to provide a modern study and research hub at the heart of the School and its teaching.
The project architect: Heleen Hart
Heleen Hart is a Dutch architect who graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage in Lille.
Her career has taken her to Rio de Janeiro, and to Porto where she worked with Carlos Castanheira Architects. Returning to France, she broadened her experience with firms in Paris, including BP architecture, Plan 01, Franck Hammoutène and Architecture Studio, then in Lille with Tank Architectes.
In 2011, with Mathieu Berteloot, she founded the architecture and planning studio HBAAT (Hart Berteloot Atelier Architecture Territoire).
HBAAT was awarded the Grand Prix d’Architecture d’A in 2021 for the Pont des Arts cinema project in Marcq-en-Baroeul. Alongside her HBAAT projects, Heleen Hart has taught at the ENSAP school of architecture in Lille since 2011.
Antony Gormley, associate artist with the project
WITNESS VII stands on the floor on the central axis of the library’s narrow entrance corridor, and WITNESS VIII is inverted, ‘standing’ upside-down on the vaulted ceiling, 30 metres from WITNESS VII.
They derive from a plaster mould taken from the artist’s own body while he was focussed on its internal space. The works are industrially cast in iron, the principal element of this planet, acknowledging our species’ dependence on the earth. Gormley considers the body as a place of experience, thought and feeling.
The artist intends these specially commissioned works to be considered in relation to our relative positions on a spherical planet, whilst creating an active, generative field across the space of the library:
‘The mass of the works makes them act like fuel rods within the void space of the library. Can they act as energisers for thought during the readers’ ingestion of image, ideas, and feelings?’
Antony Gormley, born in London in 1950, is today one of the leading figures in contemporary British sculpture.