designed and renovated by Ando. So ‘it seemed obvious
that I should entrust Tadao Ando with this mission,’ Pinault
adds, ‘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.’ Ando’s design ‘acknowledges
and builds on the steps taken by its historic architects, from
Nicolas Le Camus de Mézières [its original creator] to Henri
Blondel and including Jacques Ignace Hittorff,’ he adds.
The goal of the conversion of the Bourse de Commerce
into a museum is to create the ideal conditions for the
visitor to experience art. It will be flexible and adaptable,
to best accommodate the range of different media used
by contemporary artists today. Our intervention in the
building relies on emphasising its most striking attributes
and the remarkable features of the site while writing a
new chapter in its history. The concrete and symbolic nods
to its past – such as the Medici column, the double-spiral
staircases, or its rotunda – emphasise the role of the past
as the foundation of contemporary creation.
Because of the circularity of the site, the ways of
exploring the building are virtually inexhaustible. It
serves as a metaphor for the way in which history can be
reinterpreted and rediscovered according to new logics.
Ando has often, throughout his career, relied on circularity
as a structuring principle; it recurs in his work, almost as
his personal signature. These unique conditions combine
to make this space the site of an encounter between the
rich past, embodied by this centuries-old building, and
the modern-day desire to present a unique collection to
the public, all in the hands of the renowned Ando.
Like Ando, Le Camus de Mézières believed in the
suggestive power of forms on human emotions.
His treatise The Genius of Architecture; or, the Analogy
of that Art with our Sensations opened with the
provocative formula, ‘it is not enough to please the eyes,
you must touch the soul’. In 1977, Ando similarly described
architecture as ‘a fundamentally emotive space’. The
volumes of the central rotunda, bathed in the changing
light, will be the silent witnesses to a perpetual movement
of exchange and originality.
In approaching the renovation of the Bourse de
Commerce, the architects’ common aim is to infuse the
different historic strata of the building with a new life.
‘It is my hope that the layering of the rotunda and
Right: axonometric projection shows the visitor route through the museum
Opposite: Ando’s concrete cylinder as it will be seen from the atrium centre