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The Treasures of French ArchitectureLa Poste du Louvre gets a new lease of life

Insights
5 min
07/08/2020

HERITAGE

Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France is renovating and transforming La Poste du Louvre to turn Paris΄ central post office building into a new, mixed-use destination in the heart of the capital. A prestigious project in the expert hands of Rénovation Privée and Ouvrages Publics.
By Céline de Buttet
1830 - 1968
the golden age of postal service

from the mid-19th, a prosperous period for the postal service, which is experiencing exceptional growth in France, particularly in Paris. During this period, mail was picked up at mailboxes as many as eight times a day and as late as 6:30 or even 9:00 p.m. in some places. Deliveries were made up to seven times a day. In the middle of the 20th century, it is estimated that about 2,500 people worked inside the Louvre Post Office.

1878
la Poste du Louvre is born

Contemporary of Gustave Eiffel, it is the architect Julien Guadet who gave birth to the central post office. He then made the new building in the Louvre Street the flagship of the Parisian postal service. the Louvre Street. The cast iron and steel roofing structures weigh 6,300 tons, nearly as much as the Eiffel Tower! It is one of the masterpieces of late-nineteenth-century industrial architecture. And for a long time, it will be the largest postal centre, open day and night, and the hub of telephone communications for the whole world.

1977
A DEVASTATING FIRE FOR THE BUILDING

The upper part is affected and the old framework is reduced to ashes. Rebuilt at the time but without property value, it was demolished during the current transformation of the building.

2013
ROOM FOR COMPLETE RENOVATION

Dominique Perrault, the architect whose work includes the French national library and the renovation of the ParisLongchamp racecourse, was selected to carry on the legacy. Although the building is not on the registry of historic or protected monuments, it was decided to preserve as many of the impressive original elements – façades, metal roofing structures, cast-iron pillars, vaulted brick floor slabs, and marble fireplaces – as possible and blend them into the contemporary architecture of the renovation. After spending a year "cleaning up" the building (asbestos and lead paint), the renovation work begins. To create carparks, the existing basement was deepened, and a second underground was dug ten meters below street level. This required work on all the foundations beforehand. So, a lot was going on down below, but also up at the top. The hotel and rooftop terrace will be on a newly added level that rests on a metal superstructure supported by piles with two hours of fire resistance. However, before this new structure could be built, an 8,240-sq.-m transfer floor had to be laid and 2,500 tons of new metal roofing framework installed in the building.

JUIN 2020
THE NEW POST OFFICE OF THE LOUVRE

A post office, a police station, a childcare center, a coworking space, 2 floors of offices, an hotel with 82 rooms, seventeen social housing units, a 4500 m2 landscaped terrace covered by an energy pergola made up of solar and photovoltaic panels…. The goal of the new Poste du Louvre is to return this historic site to local residents and tourists. They will then be able to stroll into the central courtyard and admire the modern façades and newly refurbished original structures. Alexandre Feve, works supervisor at Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France – Rénovation Privée gives more details on the project: “The original building formed a single, 8,000-sq.-m block sealed off by iron gates. The idea now is to create a space open to the public, similar to Paris’ traditional roofed passageways lined with shops”.

Photo Credits Jérémy Léon, Guy Lambert and Dominique Perrault