The story of the construction


In order to conform to Frank Gehry's design, the men involved in the construction work found solutions to numerous unprecedented technical challenges, from the initial conception of the project right through to its finishing touches.


In particular, the manufacture of glass was an opportunity to rethink the know-how. A special furnace was created to meet the requirements for curves and projections imposed by the designer.


The 13 500 square metres of glass roofing is made up of unique panes, developed with the aid of innovative technology.


Avant-garde technology

Frank Gehry's creativity requires a constant technical innovation. Both in the design of the concept itself and the approach to the construction work, the Fondation Louis Vuitton project turns the principles of architecture upside down. From the very first stages onwards, all the partners brought together for the project have used a single tool: Digital Project, a software program developed by Gehry Technologies on the basis of the Catia program created by Dassault Systèmes.

The exceptional performance of this program has made it possible to create the complex shapes imagined by Frank Gehry, from the design of the building through to the assembly of the different elements on site, and requiring very close collaboration between the different teams working simultaneously with a common 3D model.

Gehry Technologies, for example, has been awarded the BIM (Building Information Model) Award for Excellence conferred by the American Institute of Architects. In France, the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy and the Ministry for the Recuperation of Manufacturing have conferred the Grand National Engineering Award to Setec Bâtiment, Quadrature Ingénierie, RFR, T/E/S/S. Bonna Sabla received the Trophy FIB (Federation of Industries of Concrete) for the molding of Ductal.  

Just a few months ago, Harvard University included the Fondation building in the programme of its architecture degree course.


The work carried out on this project has already been recognised by several engineering awards both in France and in the United States.


A High-end experimental and environmental approach


The environmental targets of the fondation are so high that it has been chosen as the pilot project for the preparation of a new HQE® (High Environmental Quality) standard dedicated to cultural buildings.


The construction of the Fondation Louis Vuitton building conforms to the LVMH Group's commitment to sustainable development.  From the initial launching of the project, the fauna and flora and the local water-tables were examined and analysed, while the acoustic impact and the anticipated arrival of the general public were all taken into consideration.

The ecological and human bases of sustainable development have thus been placed at the heart of each stage of the project: its design, construction and subsequent use.

Once the building is open, the preservation of its natural resources will continue to be a constant concern. Rainwater will be recovered, for example, so as to supply those systems not requiring drinking water. Stored and filtered, this water will be used preferably to clean the façades and glass roofs of the building.  It will also supply the basin on which the Fondation building is positioned, and finally will also be used to water the plants and terraces.  The consumption of the drinking water used in the Fondation building will therefore limited and will be adjusted to requirements.



Outstanding partners

Such innovation for the design of the building required associations between Frank Gehry and Gehry Partners with several partners. For the construction project management, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is assisted by QUADRATURE INGENIERIE. SETEC, RFR, T/E/S/S, and ALEP are the prime contractor, VINCI is the general contractor.


ALEP is responsible for landscaping, harmonizing the building with the surrounding Jardin d’Acclimatation and oversees the integration of the Fondation into its environment.


Quadrature Ingénierie assists the Louis Vuitton Fondation in its mission, as a technical AMO quality, for management teams of architects, project management and business.


RFR+TESS,  French architectural research consultancy which has worked on a number of prestigious past projects, are working together on the glass sails' and iceberg's designing.


SETEC BÂTIMENTS, a leading engineering consultancy in France, with an enviable worldwide reputation, is carrying out the structural design and the study of the fluids of the building and coordinating all of the design elements.


STUDIOS ARCHITECTURE,  an international architectural practice, develops and finalizes the architectural conception of Frank Gehry and his Los Angeles-based consultancy, Gehry Partners.


VINCI Construction, a French company internationally recognized in construction, has been selected to construct the building of the Fondation with the help of its many subcontractors (the first being EIFFAGE CONSTRUCTION METALLIQUE, who supports the achievement of the twelve glass sails) and manage the entire site.