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Picasso-Paris National Museum and Louis Vuitton Foundation: two new prestigious references for Eiffage

24.10.2014

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The very high technical accomplishment of its engineers and the meticulous and superior work of its craftsmen enabled Eiffage to work on two major Paris museums inaugurated this week: the Louis Vuitton Foundation on Monday 20 October and the Picasso-Paris National Museum on 25 October. Eiffage is proud to have been involved in the construction of these two exceptional buildings that will soon be opening their doors to thousands of visitors each year.

Eiffage Métal worked on the most emblematic section of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, namely the twelve glass panels that encase the main concrete and steel structure of the building designed by architect Frank Gehry. The building has a glazed surface area of 13,500 square metres, by comparison with which the total surface area is 11,000 square metres. The most talented engineers of our Engineering Department put in 150,000 hours to arrive at a mathematical modelling of the roof structure and lay 3,600 curved panels, no two alike. Never before have such complex glass panels been produced on such a scale: 3D technology was used at every phase of the project (preliminary studies, manufacturing, controls and assembly). Our teams secured an experimental assessment from Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) to test the feasibility and resistance of the structure. An extraordinary technical feat, symbolising France’s dynamism, creativity and technical prowess.

To attach the glass panels to the building structure, a frame made of stainless steel, carbon steel and larch wood was produced, mainly at Eiffage Métal’s Maizières-lès-Metz plant in the Moselle, and assembled. The frame was produced using 2,000 tonnes of carbon steel, 1,500 tonnes of high-strength duplex stainless steel, 800 cubic metres of wood beams, 4.5 kilometres of rails and 10 kilometres of arched frames. Modern materials were used for the edifice: high-strength steel, laminated glass, and glue-laminated wood. More than 20,000 hours of studies went into the sequencing of the different assembly phases.

Hôtel Salé, a 17th century private mansion and listed building located in the heart of the Marais district in Paris, was entirely renovated by Eiffage Construction under a turnkey project. The Picasso-Paris National Museum has the largest number of works by Pablo Picasso on display in the world.

 

Led by architect firm Bodin & Associés and architect-in-chief of historic monuments Stéphane Thouin, seventy fellow craft members and some ten engineers carried out a total refurbishment of the Hôtel Salé in the space of two and a half years. This private mansion had housed the works of the artist, painter and sculptor Pablo Ruiz Picasso since 1985.

While the old building suffered from its constricted layout and no longer met safety standards, the new premises are surprising in their scale and majesty, which is further accentuated by the abundance of white walls and natural light. Thanks to the new layout and to the spaces added in the basements, the number of exhibition halls for the permanent collections has been tripled. The public can now also discover the entire attic floor and its large baroque beams, the listed 17th century wood panelling room and the rooms on the second floor that were previously unavailable. The total surface area to which the public has access has been increased from 1,600 square metres to 3,800 square metres.

The teams carried out a meticulous, precise renovation of the building, working to the highest standards, mindful to execute the work in keeping with past construction traditions. Stone smiths, masons, carpenters, locksmiths and blacksmiths worked in turn on the project. Highly skilled blacksmiths restored the monumental staircase, while the ceiling and interior sculptures, with their 17th century mouldings, were totally renovated. To restore the frescos, stucco stone was preferred for its workability and resemblance to the original stone.

This project showcases the group’s expertise in the renovation of historical monuments: Pradeau & Morin, the subsidiary of Eiffage Construction, epitomises this expertise. Started up 120 years ago, Pradeau & Morin is specialised not only in the restoration of facades but also in building structural work and masonry for historical buildings. The company worked on many challenging projects, including the Palais de Chaillot, the Boulle School and the Sorbonne Library.

Engineering excellence and expert craftsmanship symbolise the evolution undergone by Eiffage over the years. The group, with its 67,000-strong workforce, masters cutting edge technologies while being respectful of the noblest traditions. The group has adapted to its market and to the times while remaining totally faithful to its heritage.

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View of Picasso-Paris National Museum interiors © Guillaume Maucuit Lecomte.