LASCAUX IN 6 DATES:
1940: discovery of Lascaux
4 teenagers (Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal,
Simon Coencas and Georges Agniel) set out on
an adventure on September 12th 1940 on the hill
overlooking the village of Montignac. It led them
to make one of the greatest archaeological disco-
veries of the 20th century.
The cave was listed as an Historic Monument in
1963: closure of Lascaux
The Minister for Cultural Affairs, Andr Malraux,
announced the closure of the cave on March 20th
1979: UNESCO listing
Lascaux was listed as a World Heritage site and
received the UNESCO award.
1983: opening of Lascaux 2
The first tourist entered Lascaux 2 on July 18th
Lascaux 2 is buried into the same hill as the
original cave. It houses a replica of the Hall of
the Bulls and the Axial Recess which account for
90% of the originals paintings.
Two exhibition chambers tell the story of the
cave and describe the artistic techniques.
Almost 10 million people have visited Lascaux 2
since it opened.
Lascaux is the setting for a cave art masterpiece in the Dordogne,
in the Montignac area in the heart of the Prigord Noir.
This timeless and universal work is among the greatest creations in
The cave complex covers approximately 200m and is made up of round
rooms and galleries.
Research carried out in recent decades has found that Lascaux iconogra-
phy dates back to between the Solutrean and Magdalenian periods
around 20,000 years ago.
Frescoes represent many animals: horses, bulls, cows, a deer, feline
animals, a bear and even a weird unicorn.
These representations are accompanied by engravings and several
2012: start of the Lascaux
International Exhibition tour
This huge exhibition uses new moulding and mi-
neral wall recreation technology (patented veil
of stone technology) to reconstruct parts of
the original cave which were not reproduced in
Lascaux 2: the Nave (the Great Black Cow, the
Swimming Stags, the Panel of the Imprint and
the Back-to-Back Bisons) and the Well.
The grand tour of the exhibition aims at sharing
the heritage of humanitys very first artists with
After Bordeaux (Cap-Sciences) in 2012, Chicago
(Field Museum) in 2013, Houston (Houston Mu-
seum of Natural Science) in 2013-2014 and
Montreal (Centre des Sciences) in 2014, the exhi-
bition returned to Europe in Brussels (Muse du
Cinquantenaire) from November 2014 to April
2015. After Belgium it will be Paris turn (Parc
des Expositions Porte de Versailles) to host the
exhibition from May to the end of August 2015
before it heads to Switzerland (Geneva) from
October 2015 to the end of January 2016;
then Asia: South Korea in 2016 and Japan
2016: The Centre International de
lArt Parital Montignac-Lascaux
The Lascaux cave in its entirety will be the
beating heart of the Centre International de lArt
Parital in Montignac. The future complex will
focus on the entire reconstruction of the Lascaux
cave and the use of new imaging and virtual
technology for interpretation purposes.
The Cent re In ternat ional de l 'Ar t Par i ta l
Montignac-Lascaux will be a reference for tourist
and cultural settings showcasing the popularisa-
t ion of cave ar t thanks to pain t ings and
engravings from the Lascaux cave.
20,000 years ago
Man printed i ts mark on LascauxTHE DAWN OF ART
What does the Dordogne owe its status as the home of prehistory to?
Not only to the fame of exceptional sites such as Lascaux and Les Eyzies, but also our land gathers
testimonies of almost 450,000 years of human life which is the equivalent of the most recent quarter of
Among the many sites, there are the deposits what focus is on the materials (tools, bones, burial places,
ashes etc.) that were kept in them and the fascinating caves which our ancestors decorated with
drawings, paintings and engravings.
The sheer number of these sites in the Prigord made our region a hotspot at the turn of the 19th and
20th century for the founders of prehistoric science led by Abb Henri Breuil.
Certain periods, cultures and human types are even named after some of our sites. Aside from Lascaux,
the Dordogne has a multitude of painted caves and shelters which embody our ancestors first artistic
CG24 SNOHETTA - Duncan Lewis
The plot for the Centre International de lArt Parital
MontignacLascaux covers a 6.5 hectare area in
total. The building unfolds at the foot of the hill
on a 11,400m (1.14 hectare) area with a total
floor area of 8635m.
The land opposite the Centre (on the edge of the RD
704 road) is to be used as a car park (168 spaces)
and an additional ticket office for the busy summer
The building is an average of 8m tall, approxima-
tely 150m long at its longest point and up to 70m
wide at its widest point.
The roof is softly jagged to reflect the movement of
the hill. The roof design is a key part of the project
as it brings to life the sense of a rift or crack in the
landscape which is also portrayed by the sites
The building plays on the sites layout and puts its
roots down in the hill where it harvests a sort of
organic continuity. The roof to the right of the back
wall is actually level with the ground.
The hal f -bur ied bui ld ing thus merges in to the
landscape. The back disappears into the hill and the
forest whilst the transparent front opens up wide to
The choice of material is consistent with the notion
of a landscape building which is part of the geogra-
phy yet cuts through it. The flooring (indoor and out-
door), walls, roof and faade strip are made of the
same architectural concrete which makes the whole
building look like solid rock. The raw material
brings to mind the mineral world and the rocks in
the hills and caves. Concrete itself is a blend of
natural elements and human technique reminiscent
In order to secure the caves preservation conditions and its long-term longevity,
the Science Committee in charge of the site has recommended a complete
sanctuarisation of the Lascaux hill. This recommendation dictated the guiding
principle of the project which has just launched at the foot of the hill.
The Centre International de lArt Parital Montignac-Lascaux site in Montignac-
sur-Vzre is between the Vzre Valley and Lascaux hill. It therefore unfolds on
the edge of farmland bearing the mark of human life and a dense forest whose
thick and tall vegetation plunges the undergrowth into darkness. Nestled between
these two contrasting landscapes, the project takes advantage of the geography
and of the hilly area. It is a landscape building which gives a sense of an incision
and underlines the border between the valley and hill. Based on contextual logic,
the Centre International de lArt Parital Montignac-Lascaux is designed in keeping
with existing forces, natural irregularities and the sites lumps and bumps.
In a way, the spirit of Lascaux also guided the architectural vision for the project.
It helped create an architectural project that is understated, that doesnt overdo it
in terms of shape and material yet exudes real power namely in its relation with
the elements: the relief, forest, rocks and light.
SNOHETTA - Duncan Lewis
of Lascaux where cavities sculpted by nature were
the canvas for mans thoughts and movements.
The projects second material is glass which
dominates the faade and the cover of the orienta-
tion area. It produces a series of contrasting effects
with the concrete: obscurity/transparency; dark-
ness/light; raw/sophisticated; rough/smooth. Their
balance helps characterise the features of a unique
and modern setting.
de lArt Parital Montignac-Lascaux is a visitor in-
terpretive centre. Unlike regular museums, a visitor
interpretive centre doesnt exhibit collections of
items but instead showcases and describes a site
and its treasures. Thats why architecture, the site
and its educational vocation are intrinsically
connected here. The project has been designed
using an approach whereby the landscape, archi-
tecture and staging are considered one and the
same with a direct connection to the visits narrative
and scenario. Digital and interactive installations
play a key role.
A bespoke device using RFID technology and Wi-Fi
acts as a true tour companion. Throughout the visit,
everyone can collect content and information for
their age and level of knowledge to suit themes that
capture their attention.
In terms of the project as a whole, visitors can easily
distinguish between the areas due to the clear and
simple pathway and the connection of certain set-
tings to functions or services. Each setting has a
meaning in line with the content provided to the vi-
sitor. For example, the exhibition areas tend to be
deep in the hill and in the dark whilst reception,
transition and dining areas are bathed in natural
light. These variations in setting and light along
with the contrasts between ascent and descent,
indoor and outdoor, land and sky, nature and
culture are all reminiscent of the analogy with the
cave experience in its broadest sense.
The visitor journey
Vis i tors are gree ted by the Mont ignac - fac ing
faade of the Centre International de lArt Parital
Mont ignac - Lascaux. I t s t ransparency creates a
visual connection between the indoors and outdoors.
It invites the general public to come in and provides
glimpses of what sort of thing happens in the
building. From the entrance, the notion of both phy-
sical and material accessibility is at the heart of the
project. The faade acts as a signal delivering a
simple initial message to visitors. It lights up at night
to embody the influence of the Centre International
de lArt Parital Montignac-Lascaux. The reception
is where the general public gets individual informa-
tion equipment and begin their journey punctuated
by different sequences (zones 1-7 and intermediary
Visitors can take the lift platform up to the observa-
tion deck on the buildings roof.
Visitors can enjoy expansive views and soak up
Lascauxs surroundings from the observation deck
(zone 1). Visitors walk along a slightly sloped path
on the roofs incline. Visitors walk outdoors on the
edge of the forest until they reach the entrance to
the Lascaux cave replica. Just like an open-air
tunnel, this landscaped path is designed to put the
general public in a setting similar to what caves
discoverers experienced in 1940. The tunnel goes
down and has retaining walls on either side against
the varied sloping land. The scene is set in the
space (atmosphere, narrative features etc.) to help
visitors to explore the replica.
The replica entrance has a contemporary look:
visitors know they are in the presence of a replica
despite the entire project being carried out by a
panel of prehistory experts to recreate a spatial
experience as close as possible to the original.
Inside the replica (zone 2), it is dark, damp and
sound is muffled, like in a real cave. This sequence
is above all dedicated to contemplation.
Upon leaving the replica, visitors enter a transition
space: a patio called the Cave Garden. The bond
with the sky, the vegetation and the bubbling water
characterise this setting which is meant to help visi-
tors adapt to the outdoor area after the moving and
emotional experience they had in the replica.
The next sequence, Understand Lascaux (zone 3),
is dedicated to deciphering the works in the cave
to help visitors realize and grasp the historical,
cultural and symbolic value. It is an informative and
educational exhibition area where digital devices
have a strong presence. Interactive tables provide
an opportunity to delve deeper into Lascaux.
The orientation area is an expansive central area.
It is the meeting point for the exhibitions different
zones and is thus essential to traffic flow.
The Centre International de lArt Parital Montignac-
Lascaux then offers visitors the chance to explore
different areas of expertise. The Cave Art Theatre
(zone 4) addresses historiography issues by looking
at the work of pre-historians from the 19th century
to the present day. The Cave Art World Tour gallery
(zone 5) has interlocking domes which screen
projections about painted caves all over the world.
The Two Avant-Gardes Area (zone 6) explores
the links between cave art and modern art in an
interactive digital gallery.
A seventh zone hosts temporary exhibitions.
Avenue de Lascaux, La Grande Bchade,
in Montignac (24290), France
Surface area : 53,065m2
Total floor area : 6307,70m2
SNOHETTA - Duncan Lewis
PARTNERS AND FUNDING
At the request of Dordogne Department, Europe, French State and Aquitaine Region joinedforces for the project.
They are committed to several goals:- sanctuarize Lascaux hill to improve the caves preservation conditions to secure its long-term longevity
- bring heritage to the masses as the general public no longer have access to this monument
- promote technological innovation and expertise
- draw on the most cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality technologies to understand Lascaux paintings
- create an incredible facility with a unique expert technique to reconstruct painted rock
- pursue the ambitious policy to showcase prehistoric heritage
- bridge the gap between cave and modern art
- boost the regions economic growth by focusing on high level cultural tourism in line with the natural and historical environment and contributing to the international reach of Lascaux and Vzre Valley.
The Centre International de lArt Parital Montignac-Lascaux costs 50 M (exc. VAT) + 7 M(exc. VAT) for outdoor work
Funding: Department (16.6 M), Region (16.6 M), Europe (12 M), State (4 M), Operator (2 M)
Financial support from individuals and companies is required for the remaining 5.8 M.
The Department has therefore joined forces with the Fondation du Patrimoine (non-profit organisation working
to protect and promote heritage) which has launched a subscription for the public and companies through the
Aquitaine Chamber of Commerce and Industry: www.fondation-patrimoine.org/don-lascaux4
The Department is also in contact with major national groups for patronage.
Agreements have been signed with:
- MASADOUR for a group contribution of up to 300,000 Euros
- The Crdit Agricole corporate foundation for a contribution of 700,000 Euros
- The EDF Foundation for 500 000 Euros (specifically for disabled facilities).
PROGRESS ON THE PROJECT
- January 24th 2014: issue of the building and car park construction permits.
- April 10th 2014: notice of award of contract
- Late April 2014: work starts
- April 24th 2014: launch ceremony attended by Mrs Aurlie Filippetti, Minister for Culture and Communication.
- Autumn 2014: choice of public service delegate to operate the Centre International de lArt Parital Montignac-
Lascaux: SEMITOUR Prigord won the tender
- October 2014: Termination of scenography studies
- Late 2014 - early 2015: attribution of scenography plots
The project is on schedule.
Following PRO studies and before work started, members of
the project team decided to reshuffle the groups organisation.
The result was a new project team following the withdrawal
of Duncan Lewis Scape Architecture that worked with
Snhettas on the design work for the building, outdoor
facilities and replica (in the sense of the structure designed to
feature the veils of stone). Services were reallocated by the
new team. For the work stage, SRA ARCHITECTES were
tasked with coordinating project management and works
management studies for the Architecture Outdoor and
Replica Facilities sector.
Presentation of Casson Mann,Scenography
Founded in 1984, Casson Mann is a design agency
that produces innovative projects for its clients.
The agency has worked with most of the UKs top
museums and has designed some of Londons
benchmark galleries (Victoria and Albert Museum,
Science Museum and the Churchill Museum at the
Imperial War Museum).
It has also designed projects in Moscow, Italy,
New York and the United Arab Emirates and has
worked on a regular basis in Philadelphia, Bologna,
Bordeaux and Central Asia.
It has won several awards (the Churchill Museum
alone won 6) for the quality of its design work. It
has also been recognised by prizes awarded by
museum professionals and consumer groups.
In 2006, Dinah Casson and Roger Mann were both
named Royal Designer for Industry.
Commissioned architect and Landscaper: Snhetta, Oslo, Norway.
Associate architect at design stage: Duncan Lewis Scape Architecture,
Project architect: SRA Architectes, Chtillon, France.
Scenography: Casson Mann, London, United Kingdom.
Virtual Reality Specialist: Jangled Nerves, Stuttgart, Germany.
Construction Economist: VPEAS, Bordeaux, France.
Structure Engineering Firm: Khephren Ingnierie, Bordeaux, France.
Utilities and External Works Engineering Firm: Alto Ingnierie,
Faades and Glasswork Engineering Firm: RFR, Paris France
Lighting Designer: 818, Paris, France.
Acoustics Engineering Firm: commins dBlab, Paris, France.
Presentation of Snhetta,Commissioned architect and landscaper
Snhetta is named after one of the tallest mountains
in Norway. Founded in 1989, Snhetta is managed
by Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trdal Thorsen and has
offices in Oslo and New York.
The agency brings together architects, landscapers,
interior designers and graphic designers. The result
is an all-encompassing architectural vision which
stands out for its proven multi-subject approach.
With 24 employees in Oslo and 40 in New York,
Snhetta represents a total of 17 nationalities. Its
cosmopolitan image is another key feature of the
agencys identity. Snhetta has created an agency
culture where diversity is key: diversity of both skills
and cultures. In this sense, it is a structure with the
ability to think, design and produce projects in
touch with the world.
Generally speaking, Snhetta adapts its architectural
approach to each project as it creates an intrinsic
bond to the site and context. A sites features should
inspire specific and adapted solutions to enhance
its qualities, free it from restrictions and create rich
and diverse architectural experiences.
In terms of professionalism and cultural understan-
ding, Snhetta has a fantastic relationship with
France as proven by a number of projects including
the Centre dArt Parital Montignac-Lascaux in the
Dordogne and the Annecy Convention Centre.
The Socit du Grand Paris selected the agency in
2013 to take part in the negotiated procedure for
the Noisy-Champs train station and was recently
involved in the competitive dialogue for the deve-
lopment of the Grand Palais des Champs-lyses
Further information about the projectand track progress on the site:www.projet-lascaux.com