In 2004, after reviewing a number of potential cities, government officials selected one of Lens’s former mines—now a green, hilly pasture—as the site for the first Louvre satellite museum. Following an international competition, the team of Tokyo-based SANAA and New York/Paris-based Imrey Culbert was selected in September 2005. After a series of permitting and financing processes, the 150 million euro ($216 million USD), 183,000 square-foot structure has begun construction, with an intended completion date in 2012.
The museum is to consist of five pavilions, connected at their corners. Aside from the glass entrance pavilion, the buildings will be clad in a reflective aluminum, which will mirror the pastoral surroundings in blurred form. Louis-Antoine Grégo, project architect for SANAA, is working with local architects, Extramuros, to take the project toward completion. He says the curvature of the buildings will add to the ethereal effect: “As you walk by, the building will change, helping to subtly integrate the building in the site.”