Museum of the Abbaye Sainte-Croix

Sables d’Olonne, France



Team project

Architect, interior design & signage: WILMOTTE & ASSOCIÉS ARCHITECTES
Associate heritage architect: HAME
Cost consultant: BMF
Engineer: INGEROP
Lighting: INGELUX

Surface area

5,430 sqm




Refurbishment and extension of the Museum of the Abbaye Sainte-Croix.

The Museum of the Abbaye Sainte-Croix is the second-largest museum of modern and contemporary art in the Pays de la Loire region. Its renovation is an opportunity to strengthen its influence as a meeting place and cultural hub.

The project creates a contemporary graft on the two main façades, facing Verdun Street and the Conservatory side. This initiative aims to strengthen the Museum’s identity in alignment with its two public entrances and to take advantage of the new urban developments. The new glass extension on the Conservatory side offers a space dedicated to the Auditorium’s reception as well as a dining area that benefits from the newly established urban park. These two areas are distinct from each other and connected to the “Croisée,” ensuring an independent use within the Museum.

The “Croisée” undergoes a reimagining as an urban lounge and meeting space. A new area, with increased ceiling height, is created to highlight the historical facades and establish a new connection with the outside. The new facade of the MASC extends into the urban space, symbolizing the rebirth and dynamism of the Museum. It engages in an evident dialogue with the heritage of the old convent and its surroundings.

The new MASC is designed to be a high-performance, versatile and scalable facility. The exhibition spaces have been rationalised to better meet the needs of the contemporary art scene and offer users maximum scope for action.

The two exhibition circuits are organised on two separate levels, with temporary exhibitions on the ground floor, on either side of the Crossroads, and permanent exhibitions on a single level, at ground floor level 1, in the three wings surrounding the cloister. The north and south wings are linked by a new footbridge that crosses the Crossroads, creating a single, uninterrupted permanent exhibition route.

Our project builds on the cultural dynamism of Les Sables-d'Olonne to offer a strong, effective venue that is open to the future. It places the museum's collection in a privileged setting and projects the MASC at the heart of the contemporary art scene.