Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum
Ateliers Jean Nouvel

December 01, 2003 /

Périgueux, France

Photo: arcspace

The Vesunna, Gallo-Roman Museum, is located in the heart of the ancient city of Périgueux, founded by the Romans in the first century, near the Tour de Vésone and the late Roman Empire ramparts.

The Museum houses the remains of a grand Gallo-Roman residence, adorned with painted plaster work, known as Domus de Vésone. Jean Nouvel won the competition for the design in 1993.

This site must be protected and preserved with nobility, clarity and the sensibility of today's culture/Jean Nouvel

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

Nouvel has enclosed the extensive ruin in glass, supported by thin steel columns. The tall lightweight roof, calculated geometrically from the plan of the house, has deep overhangs to keep out the sun.  Nature and views of the surrounding town, visible through the trees or reflected on the glass walls, add to the magic of the building.

Photo: arcspace

The small entrance courtyard preserves an over 200 year old Oak.

Photo: arcspace

A small 18th-century house next to the ruin, once the workplace of the first archaeologist to work on the excavations of Roman Périgueux, has been restored by Nouvel with Philippe Oudin, the local head of historic buildings.

Inside the museum  the structural elements are lightweight steel with a series of raised wooden walkways, around and above the remains, that guide visitors through the house describing the daily lives of its occupants.

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

The house was built around a garden courtyard bordered by a peristyle colonnade. Nouvel has drawn a full-scale mirrored plan on the ceiling, extending beyond the glass walls, to make the layout  of the villa understandable.  

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

Surviving colorful plaster work.

Vesunna_Gallo-Roman_12.jpgPhoto: arcspace

A collection of capitals supported by steel brackets.


Drawing courtesy Atelier Jean NouvelSection


Drawing courtesy Atelier Jean NouvelNorth facade with Main Entrance

Facts about Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum

Total area:

2,300 m2

Jean Nouvel

Project Architect:

Bertram Beissel


Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum


Last updated: December 19, 2013

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