In 1910, there was the Great Flood of Paris: Excess rainwater raised water levels eightfold. Photos from that time show locals riding down streets in makeshift boats. With global warming, there is a 40% increase in the chance of a similar flood happening nowadays. So if that does happen, in a city chock-full with culture, what will happen to the art?
The Musée du Louvre in Paris is home to one of the most valuable art collections in the world, including famed artworks like the Mona Lisa and The Winged Victory of Samothrace. With it comes a great risk of water damage. The museum has created a new venue to store its valuable art—the Louvre Conservation Center in Liévin, in the north of France.
This $120 million project, which opened in October, was designed by British architectural firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Over the past few months, 141 semi trailers have been driving more than 100,000 artworks from the museum to the new center (it will house over 250,000 art objects).
“First and foremost, it is our duty to preserve this heritage for future generations,” Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Louvre, said in a statement. “The DNA of the museum, its beating heart, is the art.” The works stored underground at the museum are vulnerable to flooding that tends to happen every decade. Let’s not forget the flood of 2016, which saw high floods for the first time in decades. And while some say that art can’t survive climate change, this new center suggests that indeed, it could.
They’re storing some of their most valuable pieces—like the Venus de Milo—in the warehouse in case the river Seine in Paris overflows. And the museum will continue to transport the art during the pandemic, according to Néguine Mathieux, the director of research and collections. “We are happy to have been able to pursue these transfers, to protect as many artworks as possible from the risk of flooding of the river Seine,” Mathieux tells AD. “By mid-2021, all the objects at risk will be transferred to the conservation center.”
While only 36,000 artworks are on view at a time at the Louvre, its collection boasts over 620,000 pieces, so this new center will be home to one-third of its entire holdings. The new center has six storage areas, including dry, low-humidity areas for metalworks, a photography studio, workshop rooms, a varnishing booth, and study space. The center has large windows for natural light, and the rooftop garden features 27 seed varieties. More than 5,000 plants have been sown around the building.
Credit: Source link