Fuksas national archives building opens Jan 21 near Paris

Documents French history from 7th C to present

Fuksas national archives building opens Jan 21 near Paris

Paris, January 10 - France's New National Archives building by award-winning husband and wife architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas will be unveiled and opened to the public on January 21 in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris, the firm made known Thursday. Three years in the making, the building will house the country's national archives, which were created during the French Revolution and which document French political regimes from the 7th century to the present. They include Merovingian parchments, acts from 14th-century Templar trials, King Louis XVI's diary, Napoleon's will, and the various constitutions of France. The new 80,000-square-meter Fuksas building has mostly glass facades and is articulated into a vertical and a horizontal body, parts of them suspended over water basins connected by walkways. The latter houses offices, a 300-seat conference hall, and an exhibition space. The vertical part of the structure houses the archives in 220 storage areas spread over 10 floors as well as a 160-seat reading room. Imagined as a monolith dedicated to memory and research, it is sheathed in aluminum interrupted by glass areas that let natural light into the entrance and the reading room. The facades of both bodies follow a lozenge pattern, which repeats in the aluminum sheathing of the monolith and in the glass of the horizontal part of the building. British sculptor Antony Gormley designed a geometric structure rising from a water basin between the vertical and the horizontal parts of the building. Snaking and rising in a series of interlocking dodecahedrons, or volumes having 12 flat faces, the Gormley sculpture reflects and projects itself between the water below and the mirroring walls on either side.

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