Louvre Lens, Lens, France

Louvre Lens

Located in the former mining town of Lens, the Louvre opened its first satellite museum, the Louvre Lens, in 2012. While the museum has some 200 pieces of artwork on display, the new building itself also has a story to tell: Designed with the Louvre Paris in mind but without replicating it, the satellite museum visually fits in with the location of an old mine yard. The building itself highlights the museum’s conservation efforts as well as archival and storage roles by offering visitors a direct visual connection to these functions. A flexible concept allows 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 underneath the site.

This system is coupled with efficient space conditioning integrated with 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. Exposed thermal mass in the floor levels out thermal swings in the galleries due to solar gain through 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.