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LA BOVERIE, an urban development strategy project

Liège has chosen to focus on its cultural scene and specific features to ensure its development. As a result, the city has decided to devote an emblematic venue to the hosting of major exhibitions aimed at a new and wider audience, drawn from a radius of 400 km around the city, where 100 million people live in 6 different countries.

The Parc de la Boverie site was singled out to host this new cultural venue. Its positioning is strategic, at the heart of the new urban axis developed between the new HSR station and the Médiacité. It is unique, nestled in the heart of a green haven, on an island formed by the River Meuse and the "Dérivation" canal. As a venue that hosted the main pavilion of the Universal Exhibition in 1905, it is a venue that is both historical and emblematic of Liège.

© Photo - Marc Verpoorten - January 2016

LA BOVERIE, an architectural project designed by Rudy RICCIOTTI

Instead of simply building a new museum, the wish of the Liège authorities was to enhance the dynamics of urban development and positioning via creative architecture and a strong visual identity for this new cultural tool. The aim was to select a project combining the characteristics of innovation, respect for existing heritage and the features of "sustainable architecture".

On 29th June 2009, the municipal Council decided to consult external partners, by means of a public procurement procedure, for the performance of a comprehensive study report concerning the creation of an "International Centre of Art and Culture"   on the site of the Parc de la Boverie.

28 tenders, both national and international, were received. The selection committee narrowed down its choice to 5 projects and invited these applicants to submit a full bid for the construction of the future project and its interior fittings.

It was on the basis of an offer combining both a strong architectural proposal and proven expertise in the field of major cultural projects that the Liège municipal authorities, following the guidance of the selection committee, decided to entrust the performance of the project to French architect Rudy Ricciotti, alongside the Liège firm PHD.  Rudy Ricciotti , winner of the national architecture grand prize in 2006, has become well known for his work on museum projects such as the MUCEM/Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (museum of European and Mediterranean civilisations) in Marseilles, built within the scope of "Marseilles, European Capital of Culture" and which has become one of the new emblems of the Mediterranean city, as well as the Département des Arts de l’Islam (Department of Islamic Art) at the Louvre.

© Photo - Marc Verpoorten - January 2016

An ambitious project with a preserved identity

Keen to respect the existing buildings and park, the architects opted for a considered intervention, through articulating a strong statement about the historic character of the building.

The most visible new element is made up of a mostly-glazed extension, "inserted like a new wing to the East, overlooking the embankment towards the Dérivation canal".

"What I think of Liège, is that the Boverie is a real territory, a territory which is extraordinarily romantic. The Museum already existed and I didn't want either to turn this building into a martyr or a hostage. I approached it with a lot of humility as if respecting an ancestor. There is a lot of self-effacement, discretion and modesty".


It is, indeed, an innovative project, with a strong visual identity but that enhances the iconic nature of the existing architecture.

© Photo - Marc Verpoorten - January 2016

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