Urban and architectural plans come nine months after firm won competition for Normandy centre

RSHP has revealed its proposals for a new-build museum for the Bayeux Tapestry at the 17th-century seminary in northern France where the artwork is currently on display.

The practice won a design competition for the €38m (£32.5m) project last spring and describes its urban and architectural plans as an “unequivocally contemporary” addition to the existing complex at Bayeux.

RSHP said that while the former seminary’s architectural features would be preserved, restored and enhanced, the project would not return the building to a former “original” state.

It said “clearly delineated interfaces” between historic building and the new structure would create a dialogue between past, present and future.

The project covers a total of 8,000sq m, of which the new building will make up 3,350sq m.

RSHP said the exhibition design concept revolves around increasing the opportunity for visitors to see the near 1,000-year old tapestry – which depicts key events from the Norman Conquest of England – from different perspectives and in different light.


Source: Atelier Brückner

An interpretation area at RSHP’s Bayeux Tapestry Museum

It said the architecture and functional organisation of the museum were inteded to take the from of a pilgrimage, allowing visitors to approach the tapestry and establish a relationship that brings the 70m-long artwork to life.

The new exhibition area will also include cloakrooms, facilities for school groups, a study room, an auditorium, and a temporary exhibition room.

In addition to the original tapestry, it will house a full-size replica made in the 19th century. Bosses said the copy – which was exhibited at the Royal Albert Hall and in north America in its early years – previously belonged to Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021. It was acquired at auction in September.

RSHP associate Theo Pagnon said the practice was approaching the redevelopment with “great excitement and passion”.


Source: RSHP

“This project aims to enhance the legacy of the Bayeux Tapestry and to promote the institution,” he said. “It is also an exceptional opportunity for our British architectural practice to begin a new chapter in an already prolific and valuable relationship between Normandy and England,” he said.

The seminary has housed the Bayeux Tapestry since 1983. It is a short distance from Bayeux Cathedral, where the tapestry has been displayed previously.

RSHP is working with heritage specialist Lympia Architecture and landscape architect Bassinet Turquin Paysage on the project. Atelier Brückner is responsible for exhibition design, graphics and signage.

The team is targeting a 2027 opening, which coincides with the 1,000th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s birth.


Source: RSHP

RSHP’s Bayeux Tapestry Museum extension, seen from the Rue aux Coqs