Historic Fortress Inspires Steven Holl’s Competition-Winning Museum in France


The white concrete museum is inspired by an adjacent fortress. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

The white concrete museum is inspired by an adjacent fortress. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

Steven Holl Architects has won an international competition for the design of the Angers Collectors Museum and adjacent hotel in the historic city of Angers, France. Working in collaboration with developers Compagine de Phalsbourg, Holl’s scheme draws inspiration from the nearby 9th century Chateau d’Angers fortress, and seeks to form a new cultural gateway to the city.


The museum is connected to a titanium linear hotel. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

The museum is connected to a titanium linear hotel. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

A series of reflecting pools reference the river that historically consumed the site. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

A series of reflecting pools reference the river that historically consumed the site. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

Situated on the east bank of the Maine river, the Angers Collectors Museum will stand adjacent to the Chateau d’Angers and Le Quai theater, forming a new cultural triangle at the heart of Angers. History plays heavily on the museum’s design, with a series of reflecting pools referencing the river that once consumed the site.

The exposed titanium and concrete museum is connected to a linear hotel featuring a façade of weaving clear and translucent glass, inspired by the 14th century Apocalypse Tapestry on display in the Chateau d’Angers.


Conceptual watercolor sketch. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

Conceptual watercolor sketch. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

The weaving glass facade of the scheme was inspired by the 14th century Apocalypse Tapestry, which is on display at the Chateau d’Angers. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

The weaving glass facade of the scheme was inspired by the 14th century Apocalypse Tapestry, which is on display at the Chateau d’Angers. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

The museum will feature a central atrium event space, galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions, and spaces for art education and storage. A sustainability agenda includes geothermal heating and cooling to eliminate fossil fuels, and the use of recycled water to fill the reflecting pools. At the center of the site, the hotel and museum come together to shape a public sculpture garden, forming a node to connect the site and city to the river.


The gallery spaces house temporary and permanent exhibits. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

The gallery spaces house temporary and permanent exhibits. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

A central atrium gives space for exhibitions. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

A central atrium gives space for exhibitions. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl

New via: Steven Holl Architects