On Monday, French billionaire and art collector François Pinault unveiled his plans to create a contemporary museum for his private art collection within the glass-domed building, which is steps away from the Louvre and the Palais Royal. Pinault, who has worked with Ando before on the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice, chose him to lead the Paris project’s design and preservation efforts, along with French firm NeM Architects, French National Heritage architect Pierre-Antoine Gatier, and engineering firm Setec.
“Considering the scope of this challenge, it seemed obvious that I should entrust Tadao Ando with this mission, as Ando is one of the few architects working today who is able to create a dialogue between architecture and its context, its past and present, masterfully combining originality and discretion,” said François Pinault in a press release.
Ando’s addition will be a cylinder in the iconic rotunda that will create three levels of gallery spaces that are open to the dome and encase an auditorium below ground. Corridors will also be constructed between the outside of the cylinder and the “interior facade” to create a new space for circulation. (The Bourse de Commerce incorporates several structures built over the centuries on that site; French architect Henri Blondel (1821-1897) designed an 1889 addition that serves as the current facade.) Besides a redesign of the internal space, the plans for the Bourse also include restoring its exterior and landmarked interiors—the internal facade, skylights, and frescoes. Restoration to the 19th century, neoclassical building is estimated to cost $121 million.
The announcement also revives a long battle between the two well-known art collectors in France: Pinault and Bernald Arnault. They have both sought homes for their private art collections, with Arnault’s currently in the Frank Gehry–designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
The ambitious project takes on additional political significance in “tumultuous times,” where recurring terrorist incidents and Brexit cast doubt on what the future holds, as Ando described in a press release. “This is a project that calls on the people to recall France’s proud identity as a country of culture and art and to renew their hopes for the future.”
The museum is expected to open in 2019.