Visiting the construction site for the Nantes Musée d’Arts restoration and extension project!

09/28/2016 | News

Visiting the construction site for the Nantes Musée d’Arts restoration and extension project!

  • Musée d’Arts
  • Musée d’Arts
  • Musée d’Arts
  • Musée d’Arts
  • Musée d’Arts
  • Musée d’Arts
The Musée d'Arts project involves the extension and major renovation of the city of Nantes' iconic building. A look back on how the building works have been progressing since the start of the construction project in April 2014 by Bouygues Construction teams.

A grandiose cultural and tourist vocation

Since April 2014, teams from Bouygues Bâtiment Grand-Ouest, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, have been working on the renovation and extension of this historical building, which previously housed the Nantes fine arts museum.  This iconic site is a major cultural project for the city. The art museum (Musée d’Arts), whose cultural and tourist vocation extends far beyond Nantes, became a museum for the entire city and surrounding areas on 1 January 2015. In addition to the dilapidated state of the old building, the fine arts museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts) suffered from a lack of exhibition space and the tools required for a modern museum.

Extension & Renovation

Extending the museum will provide 2,000 m² of additional exhibition space across four floors. The extension, known as the 'Cube', is currently under construction and is located between the Palais and the Oratory chapel (chapelle de l'Oratoire). Patrick Richard, architect at Stanton Williams, explains, "We have improved natural light by using 21st-century technology with a series of filters and thermal and sound insulation. The museum's aim is to showcase the artwork, and now we have an architecture that accompanies the visitor’s journey through the exhibitions but doesn't become a focal point."

The renovation works include the creation of new underground exhibition galleries in the existing Palais and the renovation of 3,500 m² of glass roof and 8,000 m² of listed facade.  "The new museum will have an outgoing personality, but with a close link between the old and new building", specifies architect Patrick Richard.

This project will cement the principal of having one contemporary Musée d'Arts and provide an adapted, modern building that the artwork merits. It is also an opportunity to propose an ambitious cultural offer, restore the existing building to its former glory (roof and facade) and ensure that the building meets the required standards. When the Nantes Musée des Beaux-Arts was built, nobody ever imagined that such a large amount of space would be needed. Thanks to the renovation and extension work undertaken by the Bouygues Construction teams, the population of Nantes will be able to rediscover the museum, which will maintain its former spirit but in contemporary surroundings with digital facilities, catering to all sectors of the public. The new building will reflect its former self with four large floors for contemporary collections.

Spectacular building works

Without a doubt, the most spectacular part of the works was excavating 6.50 m under the restored building, to underpin the building more than four metres below the patio foundations. This made it possible to create an underground auditorium, educational rooms, store rooms and technical rooms.

The Musée d'Arts site is scheduled for handover late January 2017, with the public opening taking place in June 2017.

Key figures

hours of renovation and extension work


on-site workers employed by Bouygues Bâtiment Grand-Ouest at the height of the building works

Press contacts

Mathieu Carré

+33 (0)1 30 60 66 39

Jessica Swiderski

+33 (0)1 30 60 25 37