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9.12.05

Musée Rodin's Renovated Chapel

Other Articles:

Guy Duplat, Rodin, c'est le pied... (La Libre Belgique, November 30)

Anne-Marie Romero, La chapelle du Musée Rodin en lumière (Le Figaro, November 17)
Paris -- a city I adore, as most of you know -- has so many good museums, but the Musée Rodin, in the glorious Hôtel Biron where Rodin had his studio late in his life, is one of the better ones. The museum has just completed an extensive restructuring and renovation (page is in French only) of its chapel. It's a historic building, not particularly well suited to the demands of a major museum with a large public. Back in the 1990s, an architect Henri Gaudin crashed and burned with his plan to enlarge the exhibit space, because the residents of the museum's neighborhood, in the 7th arrondissement, are rather conservative and shot down his plan. Pierre-Louis Faloci came up with the plan that has just been realized, at a cost of 14 million €, which preserved the exterior elements of the original design while at the same time enlarging the interior space. (On this trend, see my post on façadisme, January 20, 2005.) Frédéric Edelmann wrote a review of the inaugural exhibit (Rodin, Brancusi, Giacometti, Louise Bourgeois, Vermeiren: La sculpture dans l’espace, through February 26) in the new space (Auguste Rodin en lumière dans sa chapelle rénovée, November 19) for Le Monde (my translation):
Without annoying the neighbors on the Rue de Varenne, [Pierre-Louis Faloci] inflated the building in height. [...] Second process: the design of the public space -- ticket counter, gift shop, and exhibit space, especially -- which was done without being stingy on space or light, as well as a beautiful clarity of design, able to make you forget the slightly indigestible character of the neogothic envelope. The third success is classic: seeking square footage underground for spaces that can be dark, like the auditorium, of which the limited seating of 90 seats still raises doubts.
You can see some pictures of the building here and here.