Louvre Lens, Lens, France

The site, previously a coal mine, is the first location for the Louvre‘s new satellite museums. Besides providing extra space to display additional pieces from the Louvre‘s vast collection, the new building will highlight the museums conservation, archival and storage roles, through providing to visitors a direct visual connection to these functions. A flexible concept will allow the building to adapt to future uses.

Lens‘ history as a mining town is also reflected in the centrality of the geothermal systems in the building‘s energy strategy. The geothermal wells are used directly for free cooling in the shoulder season, accompanied by heat pumps for winter and summer. The system includes the possibility of extension to the historic mines and underground streams located right under the site.

This system is coupled with efficient space conditioning integrated with the daylighting strategy to provide an exceptionally comfortable space. These systems include fresh air supplied via displacement ventilation to heavily occupied galleries, which is substantially more energy efficient than typical mixing ventilation, while limiting any dust movements in the exhibition spaces. Space conditioning is provided through thermally active floor slabs coupled with a low-e coating on the roof glazing to prevent heat losses. Daylighting of the exhibition spaces is provided by roof glazing, in which transparent photovoltaic modules integrated in the glazing produce renewable energy while providing shade. Exposed thermal mass in the floor acts to level out thermal swings in the galleries due to solar gain through the glazing.

Rain water is collected from the roof and fed into a covered cistern. After filtration it is used for the museum‘s toilets. Surplus collected water is drained on site or used for irrigation.