Musée national de la marine

Renovation of the National Maritime Museum, the world's oldest maritime museum, by Eiffage Construction.

Construction Division

Located at Trocadéro Square in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the National Maritime Museum, the world's oldest maritime museum, underwent a significant renovation. The Demolition-Structural Work package was entrusted to the Equipements Réhabilités Eiffage Construction teams by OPPIC (Operator of Heritage and Cultural Real Estate Projects). The unique aspect of the operation is its placement in the west wing of the Palais de Chaillot, an iconic heritage building facing the Eiffel Tower and already housing the Museum of Man, which remained operational during the renovations.

The project by the architecture firm h2o, in collaboration with Snohetta, is based on a composition and restitution of the volumes of the galleries from the 1937 International Exhibition, while aligning with the architectural continuity of the interior arrangements. It reconsiders the fundamental architectural qualities of this palace, respecting its history and adapting it to sustainably house the collections of the future museum.

The historic building, with its 10,250 square meters of floors, consists of a main building flanked by two majestic galleries (dating back to 1878 and 1937) extended by a five-level pavilion, as well as a ground-floor infrastructure level housing part of the museum. One of the major challenges of the project was that the spaces of the National Maritime Museum are intertwined with those of the Museum of Man, which remained operational during the works, adding significant acoustic and vibrational constraints, testing the expertise of our teams.

The structural works involved partial foundation reinforcement, reconstruction of the ground floor slab (self-supporting slabs), creation of metal floors with framing, and reversible reinforcement of the historic 1878 metal frame (by moisage).

An ingenious approach was adopted for the creation of the mezzanine floors in the 1937 gallery and the two mezzanines in the 1878 gallery, allowing the minimization of loads on the existing structure: the installation of a metal frame replaced reinforced concrete elements, ensuring the stability of the building without adding excessive weight. This complex process began with the meticulous installation of primary beams made of welded reconstituted steel profiles weighing over 250 tons, supporting a steel deck. On this basis, a concrete floor was poured, thus ensuring a new life for the museum without compromising its structural integrity.

The museum's facades, classified as Historical Monuments, presented an additional challenge. Our teams had to adapt their working methods to respect the architectural integrity of the site.

The construction started in January 2020 and was completed in late October 2023; it required the involvement of 30 craftsmen.

The National Maritime Museum has been open to the public again since November 17, 2023. This operation was a real challenge for our teams, who had to overcome numerous technical and architectural challenges, ensuring the preservation of the history and integrity of the place. A big congratulations to them for contributing to giving new life to this iconic monument, thus preserving a precious piece of French cultural heritage for future generations.

Client: National Maritime Museum
Delegated Client: OPPIC
Lead Architect for Architectural Renovation: H2O Architects in association with Snohetta