The new expansion of the Louvre in Lens is 360 meters of steel and glass unfolding on top of an old coal mine and expected to attract 500.000 visitors each year. It is a museum that aims at educating visitors in how to look at art and on top of that revitalize the post-industrial town Lens in France.
By Lise Laurberg
Based in Tokyo, SANAA designs highly aesthetic and experimental buildings in Japan, Europe and USA. The white, ethereal architecture of SANAA has to many people, become synonymous with contemporary Japanese architecture.
SANAA was founded in 1995 by Kazuyo Sejima (born 1956), and Ryue Nishizawa (born 1966), a former employee at Kazuyo Sejima and Associates. In 1997, Ryue Nishizawa also founded his own office, Ryue Nishizawa and Associates, and to this day both architects work on individual projects outside of SANAA.
SANAAs work includes a large number of successful public buildings, such as the New Museum and the Rolex Learning Center, but the architects also experiment with housing designs to shape and change our daily life, especially in their individual practices (see for example Moriyama House).
In spite of their whiteness, the buildings of SANAA are very far from modernist architecture, as the architects continue to incorporate elements of doubt and ambiguity into their works. The extensive use of glass in SANAA's architecture has quite a different effect than seen in most glass buildings, as SANAA uses the glass to create reflections and layered spaces with unclear boundaries. Also, the architects tend to use playful elements in their architecture, adding a note of humor to the experience.
SANAA is often said to work with a 'fourth dimension' in their design of space. This is to say that the complexity of their buildings always contain traits that cannot be explained or communicated via drawings or photos. The touch of humor, the spatial ambiguity and the use of reflections all demand that you visit the buildings to really understand them.
In 2010, SANAA was awarded the highest honor in architecture,
the Pritzker Prize. In 2004, SANAA received a Golden Lion at the
Venice Biennale for 21st Century Museum of
Visit the website of SANAA
The Rolex Learning Center is above all a library and learning space devoted to the cultivation of knowledge by an array of different methods.
Sejima and Nishizawa have created a beautiful Pavilion that resembles a reflective cloud or a floating pool of water, sitting atop a series of delicate columns.
A glimmering metal mesh-clad stack of boxes shifted off axis in a dynamic composition.
Circular in form, the building has no front or back, leaving it free to be explored from all directions.
The Glass Pavilion, an annex across the street from the Toledo Museum of Art, contains an extensive glass art collection, temporary exhibition galleries and glass making facilities.
IVAM, inaugurated in 1989, was the first modern art museum to open in Spain. Designed by Valencian architects Emilio Giménez and Carlos Salvadores the museum was remodelled in 2000 by Emilio Giménez and Julián Esteban.