When the historical Lyon site was listed as a World Heritage site, Gadagne paled in comparison : Renovation and restructuring on a large scale had to be considered.

In 1998, building and museography had, in fact, fallen into a state of disrepair, some areas were inaccessible, the visit programme was inconsistent and the safety precautions for the visit and the preservation conditions were obsolete.

The City of Lyon approved the restructuring project for the Gadagne Museum. An agreement was signed with the State, who provided financial support for the project.

Architectural prowess

The renovation programme was ambitious :

  • Archaeological digs to rediscover the history of the site, remnants of the 17th century ornamental garden or original décor
  • Extension of the site by restructuring the unused areas or creating new areas whilst respecting the existing building
  • Optimisation of the visitors’ traffic with five lifts and the construction of a monumental staircase in an area extending into the hillside.

Thanks to a new scientific and cultural project, the restoration has brought consistency to the site and clearly exhibits the two collections housed in the building.

Two pairs of hands

Given the importance of the refurbishment project, a European competition was launched to find the museographial architect to revitalise the Gadagne Museums. On 18 January 1999, the decision was made based on the project presented by the team led by the Bizouard – Pin practice.


At the same time, Didier Repellin, the Senior Architect for historic buildings, drew up the part of the project relating to the renovation of the listed building (as a historical monument).

Renovation in figures

The restoration took ten years’ work and 30 million Euros. The surface area covered by the museums was extended from 3500 m2 to 6300 m2