Grand Palais Restoration Completed

For the first time since its construction in 1900, the Grand Palais in Paris has undergone its first major restoration. Originally constructed for the Paris Universal Exhibition, French studio Chatillon Architectes has completed the restoration of the glass-roofed atrium of the Grand Palais, which will host fencing and taekwondo at the Olympic Games later this year.



The sporting event will be held in the revamped atrium, with an expansive structure of over 6,000 tonnes of steel and glass serving as an intricate backdrop.

According to the studio, the main ambition for the project was to improve accessibility after it had become, “a monument that was often only observed from afar.”

“It’s the opportunity to return a permanent public use to the building, to redevelop the surrounding grounds, to connect the building back to the city and to adapt it for the Olympics and future generations,” explained Chatillon Architectes founder Francois Chatillon.

During the first phase of the project, changes to the 72,000 square metre building included reconnecting the three main spaces, including the nave, to restore the original centre axis across its H-shaped plan. Areas previously inaccessible to the public have been reopened by removing partition walls and integrating a sightseeing route within the design.

When undertaking the restoration, Chatillon set out to preserve and celebrate as much of the original structure as possible, and used the original design by architects Henri Deglane, Albert Louvet, Albert Thomas and Charles Girault as a reference.

“We have explored thousands of archival documents to truly understand the building and its original intentions.”

“Our focus has always been to honour and restore the best of the building’s past but not to do this blindly, we have approached the project with a contemporary mindset, ensuring that the building is prepared for its next phase of life and that, above all, it is a functioning building for modern society.”

The decorative balconies in the nave, which the studio said are among the earliest recorded cantilevers, have been reinforced and restored. Meanwhile, emergency escape routes have been improved to increase the atrium’s capacity by more than 60 percent.

Throughout, technology and building services have been brought up to modern-day standards to ensure the Grand Palais can properly facilitate contemporary exhibitions and events.

Photographs courtesy of Laurent Kronental

Get our enews

Design and development news that comes to you


Locally produced tiles adorn coffee shop in Nagoya

Japanese studio Keiji Ashizawa Design has unveiled its latest project in Nagoya, Japan with the design prominently featuring ...

From Storage Shed to Dynamic Workspace: Benn + Penna's Vision for Tasman Gallery

In the heart of the Byron Bay Arts and Industry Estate, an area known for its vibrant mix ...

Sala Hars transforms Tiempos flagship store in Mexico City with dynamic display system

In a bold reimagining of retail space, designer architect Sala Hars has created a dynamic display system for ...

Bacalan Block: Concrete silo transformed into dramatic hotel lobby

In a striking blend of history and modern design, Colboc Sachet Architects have transformed a 36-metre-tall concrete silo ...

Clifton Hill Primary School Unveils Innovative Vertical Campus

Clifton Hill Primary School has embarked on a transformative journey with the unveiling of its new vertical campus, ...


Stay connected to the SPEC

Join our reader network by signing up to our weekly newsletter and receive design and development news straight to your inbox

Specifier Source is brought to you by the same company that publishes Home Design, Grand Designs Australia Magazine, Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly Magazine, Outdoor Design Source, Build Home, CompleteHome and many more.

© 2022 Universal Media Co. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Terms of Service. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Universal Media Co.