Since its inauguration in 1888, La Poste du Louvre has been in perpetual evolution. Built from 1878 to 1888 by the architect Julien Guadet for the needs of the National Post Office, this building, emblematic of the Parisian construction sites of the Third Republic, fits perfectly into the typology of the Haussmannian arteries of the 1st district of Paris.
Behind the elegant classicism of its dressed-stone facades, with spans regulated by powerful buttresses, the construction techniques of the industrial era, represented in particular by the long-span metal frames of the Eiffel type, already seemed to allow a great deal of flexibility. A manifesto work by the architect, the building-island is conceived both as a “hotel”, facing the rue du Louvre and dedicated to the reception of the public, and a “factory”, with the heart of the island dedicated to the sorting of mail and open to the three other streets.
A CENTURY AND A HALF OF HISTORY
La Poste du Louvre with its mezzanine has gone through almost a century and a half of history, adapted, fitted out and transformed according to various modernization campaigns, carried out mainly from the 1960s to the 1980s, following the evolution of postal activity. For example, the large volume of the ground floor of the factory was designed as a mezzanine to allow for parking and the comings and goings of postal vehicles. Also, after the fire of February 1975, the original attic was replaced by a flat roof, significantly transforming the original building. The major transformations undertaken in recent years have continued to reveal the modernity of the original design by Julien Guadet, resolutely avant-garde for its time.
AN AMBITIOUS TRANSFORMATION PROJECT
The transformation of the Poste du Louvre is part of a series of major projects in the heart of Paris, including the transformation of Les Halles leisure and shopping complex, the Samaritaine department store, and the Bourse de Commerce. In terms of restaurants, cultural life, shopping and museums, the Poste du Louvre benefits from an exceptional location, close to the largest underground station in Europe, Châtelet-les Halles. The Poste Group and its real estate subsidiary Poste Immo, which owns the site, have embarked on a vast program to modernize the building, adapting it to its times, opening it up to the neighborhood and welcoming residents, tourists and new users.
In 2012, a consultation process was launched for the project management. Out of 70 French and international teams that submitted their applications, five were selected for the final phase. In July 2012, Dominique Perrault’s team was chosen as the winner. The building permit was obtained in 2013 and work began in 2016, led by Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France. In 2021, the various spaces will be made available to tenants.
FROM AN INDUSTRIAL BLOCK TO AN URBAN BLOCK:
OPENING LA POSTE DU LOUVRE TO ITS NEIGHBORHOOD
In the heart of the capital, La Poste du Louvre was a stone block, closed on three sides, and open to the public through its single post office, located on Rue du Louvre. The urban and architectural concept consisted of reintroducing this legacy complex into the life of its neighborhood and making it a real place of sociability and services, accessible to all.
Mutation is the main idea of the project, from an industrial to an urban complex. On the one hand, by the transformation of a monofunctional building, dedicated to postal activities, into a volume welcoming a mix of uses. On the other hand, by the transformation of a closed volume into a more open volume.
From the outside, on its stone facades, the project favors the urban integration of the volume. The monolithic island is made “permeable” and connected to its environment, by the creation of a network of porches, arcades and galleries, openly inspired by covered passages, including the famous neighboring Vivienne
or Véro-Dodat shopping arcades. Five passageways now converge towards the heart of the block, from the streets of the Louvre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Etienne Marcel and the Gutenberg passage. They converge on a central courtyard, designed as an open-air industrial courtyard, around which shops and services will open.
La Poste du Louvre thus opens up to the city and serves as the setting for a new urban square, allowing a maximum of natural light to enter its heart and revealing to all the impressive volumes and the interplay of the historic metal structures.
A GREAT MIX OF USES:
The new Poste du Louvre now offers a mixed- use program connected to the functions of its neighborhood.
It welcomes a 5-star hotel with 82 rooms, a restaurant and a panoramic rooftop bar. Open to the public and directly accessible from Rue Étienne-Marcel, it offers a spectacular view of the capital’s roofs. La Poste du Louvre will also offer shops, social housing, and offices, as well as numerous services, including the preservation of the historic post office, the creation of a police station, a childcare center, and an urban logistics hub in the basement. La Poste du Louvre is thus intended to operate at all hours of the day and night.
The organization of the various programs is based on horizontal layers, in the tradition of Haussmann buildings.