In 1984, twelve of the world’s most famous architects were invited to submit plans for a new museum in Nîmes, on the square anchored by a stunning Roman temple. A stately and incredibly well-preserved edifice surrounded by Corinthian columns, the Maison Carée once reigned over a forum. Over the years it variously served as a Christian church, a horse stable and repository for the city’s archives.
Then, in 1993, a contemporary art gallery, the Carré d’Art opened across the square. It was designed by the winner of the competition, Sir Norman Foster, also known for the Reichstag in Berlin and London’s Millennium Bridge. This translucent building echos the Maison Carée with a portico and columns, albeit in steel and glass.
In the words of Foster + Partners: “The challenge was to relate new to the old, but at the same time to create a building that represented its own age with integrity.” We think Marcus Agrippa would be pleased.