We are far from the “Iron Palace”, a rectangle of metal and glass measuring 700 x 340 meters, erected on the Champ-de-Mars, in Paris, by Léopold Hardy for the Universal Exhibition of 1878. But the temporary structure in wood and plastic, whose construction began on Wednesday July 15 in front of the Military School, is still 145 meters long and 130 wide, or 10,000 m2.
Culminating at 20 meters in height, that is to say 16 less than the dome of the Military School, its curved frame should accommodate, from January, if sanitary conditions allow it, the exhibitions and other events of the Grand Palais, the time for the latter to get a makeover, before the 2024 Olympics.
The assembly of the provisional building began in July. / Wilmotte and associated architects
Each year, an additional structure will be added from time to time to the main structure in order to provide FIAC and Paris Photo with an area of approximately 18,000 m2.
→ READ. The Grand Palais in search of its “lost axis”
Built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the monument had not been restored since, with the exception of the 240 meters of the Nave in the early 2000s, the South-East Gallery and the Salon d’Honneur in 2011- 2012. Constantly postponed for financial reasons, this grooming was becoming imperative, but proved to be extremely costly.
Intended to bring the building up to standard, increase the size of the Nave and restore its unity with the neighboring Discovery Palace, this pharaonic site had an estimated budget in 2018 at 466 million euros over five years. ” Neither the calendar nor the budget are in question. We will keep our commitments both on thescope of the cultural project than on its cost », Says Chris Dercon, president of the RMN-Grand Palais, at the Figaro. The daily says, however, that adjustments have been made, the planned rooftop restaurant having borne the brunt.
The erection of the ephemeral Grand Palais is less expensive, but its cost still amounts to 40 million euros. A budget that includes the construction, technical operation and maintenance of the building for 4 years, as well as its dismantling. Everything is financed by rental income received by the public establishment as well as by the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, the judo and wrestling events of the 2024 Olympics to be held there.
« Hangar »
The modular structure is designed to be assembled quickly from complete sections pre-assembled in the workshop. Designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, a regular there since he built the Russian cathedral not far from there, the building is protected by a double skin whose thermal and acoustic virtues the architect praises. This should reduce noise pollution in the neighborhood.
View from inside the temporary building that will host the Grand Palais exhibitions. / Wilmotte and associated architects
Because the announcement of this temporary building aroused the indignation of some residents in 2018, who then denounced, in The Parisian, « illegal occupation of a natural area classified as a Unesco heritage ». « When you’ve bought an expensive apartment on Champ-de-Mars, you don’t want to have a shed under your windows. If it is not dismantled when due, I will do it myself », Stormed Rachida Dati in Point last February.
The RMN-Grand Palais and the organizing committee for the Paris Olympics in 2024 ensure that they have started a dialogue with residents and intend to continue it throughout the life of this ephemeral architecture.