This winning proposal for Musée de la Romanité in Nimes, France, by Elizabeth de Portzamparc had to deal with a fragile situation which required respectful and exceptional dialogue – the building is located on the gate of the old city of Nimes, and emerging from the archaeological remains the it had to establish complex relation, made both of opposition and complementarity, with the two thousand years old antique Arenas of Nimes. The creation of the museum building was only a part of wider project, including urban regeneration of the „Grill“ plot, the museography, the archaeological garden landscaping and a feasibility study of a congress center and a hotel.
Two geometries coexist successfully – in contrast with the magnificence of the static, great stone volume, the Museum’s offers light and luminous presence of one fluid architecture. Acting as a gate of an urban promenade, museum reveals the Arenas through its transparent ground floor, which attracts and invites visitors inside. The building of the museum was designed to generate coherence in the city, the inventive museography within it and the archaeological garden that extends it.
Beginning from the main hall, continuing within “Chambord“ stairs, the promenade ascends to the roof. Series of ramps provide greater viewpoints on the archaeological collections, currently counting more then 25 000 items. Large window surfaces open the view to the garden and to the Arenas. Last point of the museum promenade, green roof, is a place to rest and enjoy the breathtaking panorama on twenty centuries of Nimes history.