The Norwegian firm Snøhetta has been chosen to refurbish and enlarge the Natural History Museum of Lille in northern France, close to the Belgian border. The idea is to revitalize the 19th-century building through sustainable solutions while preserving the identity of the original construction. With the collaboration of the exhibit designer Adeline Rispal, the flexible galleries will be adapted to the needs of a contemporary museum.
Connecting the museum’s three arms forming an E, the extension is a reinterpretation of buildings in the French city’s old quarter, with a brick facade, interiors clad in wood, and floor-to-ceiling glass panes. The project demolishes recent additions and reuses the bricks removed. The historical facades will be restored, incorporating a high-performance insulation. There will also be photovoltaic panels and rainwater harvesting systems. The museum is programmed to reopen in 2025.