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<span class="title">To France, the Country</span><br>
<span class="title">of Culture and Art</span>
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<span class="alinea"></span>These are tumultuous times in Europe. The recurring terrorist incidents and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU have fueled anxiety over what the future holds, and countries and people alike seem unsure of their own identities.
<span class="alinea"></span>Such are the circumstances among which François Pinault has launched a new enterprise here in Paris: the Bourse de Commerce. 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. I feel truly honored to be able to serve as the architect of such a project.
<span class="alinea"></span>I had the pleasure of taking part in a previous, important project of Mr. Pinault: the Punta della Dogana in Venice, Italy. Charged with the task of giving the historic customs house a new life as an art museum, I proposed introducing architectural elements as devices for inducing dialogue between the old and new. This concept is epitomized by the central court, the main gallery space with a square plan, which I embedded at the heart of the building.
<span class="alinea"></span>The Bourse de Commerce is also an exquisite historic building. By nesting new spaces within it, while respecting the memories of the city engraved in its walls, I will transform the building’s entire interior into a space for contemporary art. The theme here, once again, is to create a building that connects the past with the present and the future.
<span class="alinea"></span>The Bourse de Commerce has a circular plan with an iconic rotunda at its center. The space will be reconfigured with the insertion of a cylinder, thirty meters in diameter, formed by a concrete wall approximately nine meters high. This cylinder will give shape to the central exhibition space under the cupola and encase the auditorium and foyer below ground.
<span class="alinea"></span>A new corridor space will also be created between the outside of the cylinder and the Blondel-designed interior façade. This space, containing walkways and stairs running along the circular walls, will form the circulation zone, which will provide access to the two levels of exhibition areas encircling the rotunda and to the auditorium on the subterranean level.
<span class="alinea"></span>It is my hope that the layering of the rotunda and the cylinder and of old and new will give rise to a sequence of even more powerful, varied spaces and create a lively place appropriate for upholding the city’s culture for the next generation.