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Paris debuts a ‘grand’ temporary venue

Case Studies | December 1, 2021 | By:

The temporary Grand Palais Ephémère features 44 timber arches wrapped in a transparent textile skin that offers acoustical, thermal and ventilation properties. Photos: Wilmotte & Associates.

While the Grand Palais, Paris’ historic exhibition hall and museum complex, is closed for a multi-year restoration project, a membrane-wrapped temporary venue installed on the Champ de Mars in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower is taking its place.

Designed by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte of Wilmotte & Associates, the temporary structure dubbed “Grand Palais Ephémère” will host events normally staged in the nave of the Grand Palais—everything from art exhibitions, to Chanel fashion shows, to the judo and wrestling events at the 2024 Summer Olympics. 

Boasting 44 arches, the 10,000-square-meter building was designed with an architecture and scale to fit perfectly within the prestigious site. The height of 65 feet is significant without rising above other historic buildings in the vicinity. 

The double skin that surrounds the building offers acoustical, thermal and ventilation properties, reducing the building’s energy expenditures. The transparent canvas, visible from the outside, is made of a polymer of non-petroleum sources, generating 90 percent less energy in its manufacturing compared to glass, and it is fully recyclable.

The installation required three months, opening to the public in June 2021. The modular structure was designed to be reused in multiple configurations after its removal from Champ de Mars in the fall of 2024. 

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