Musée Hergé by Atelier Christian
de Portzamparc



A museum dedicated to Belgian artist and Tintin author Hergé, designed by Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, opened earlier this month in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium (via yatzer).


The Musée Hergé is situated in a forest and connected to the city of Louvain-la-Neuve by a footbridge.


Large, comic-strip-like bay windows allow natural light to fill the large reception area, from which the four large exhibition spaces can be accessed.


Meandering footbridges link the exhibition spaces.


The museum features permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a video projection venue, cafeteria, shops and studios.


Photographs are copyright Nicolas Borel unless otherwise stated.

Here's further info from Christian de Portzamparc:



Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
2001, Building works began in July 2007 – End of the building May 2009

An elongated prism floats in the forest while a footbridge connects it to the city. Vast bay windows seem to suggest comic strips spaces, while the prism offers a colorful oneiric and fancied hall.


This large reception area accommodates the four exhibition volumes also linked with each other via footbridges.


“It was at the close of the exhibition, organized by the Pompidou Centre about me in 1996, that I met Fanny and Nick Rodwell. They had seen the exhibition, liked it, and wanted to talk to me about their project for the Hergé Museum. Above image copyright Hergé/Croix de l'Aigle.


It was wonderful as Hergé had not only cradled and enchanted my own childhood, but he was also cradling and enchanting the childhood of my children.


My first ever drawings, when I was about four or five years old, were of Captain Haddock. When it comes to my primary architectural motifs, I realise now that they were inspired by the menof-war (the Unicorn), boats, yachts, junks, hows and cargo steamers that sail through the adventures of Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock.


I remember them in the same way as I might remember old poems, far away in the recesses of my memory. It would take another seven years before the first sketches and the first model of the museum appeared in 2003. Seven years during which there was time for relations between Fanny and Nick Rodwell and myself to grow, to become stronger and more refined with mutual confidence and complicity. Time for us to make sure that we were speaking the same language. This sense of collaboration was, throughout the project, shared by Joost Swarte, who was in charge of the scenography, and Walter de Toffol, our building contractor.


Louvain-la-Neuve is built on a straight-edged concrete slab with a car park underneath. It immediately seemed like a good idea to disengage the museum from the town, better to move it away a little towards the woods. In this way, bathed in the light streaming through the large bays, the visitor is confronted with “four landscape objects”, which correspond to the general layout and Joost Swarte’s scenography.


Each of these objects has its own personality; each is a kind of character. Each has a specific sculptural form, colour and unique design. Each displays an aspect, disproportionately enlarged, derived from Hergé’s drawing style. One traces Tintin in America, another King Ottokar’s Sceptre… To these four “objects”, we can add a fifth: the lift shaft, vertical and coloured in white and blue, which I had first imagined as red and white, but which Fanny found too literal.


What is clear to me, now that the museum exists, is that there were infinite sources of inspiration for the project. Above image copyright Hergé/Croix de l'Aigle.


There was the programme of exhibitions, of course, and the constant discussions with Fanny and Nick Rodwell, as well as the work of Hergé in all its dimensions of course: its identity, its individuality, its unique character.


I said to myself, from this point on, that the museum was obviously a tribute to Hergé, but also as much a game played with Hergé, or a letter to Hergé.”


Cultural facilities accommodating a museum dedicated to Hergé, as well as permanent and temporary exhibitions areas, a video projection room, a cafeteria, shops, studios, storehouses and administrative premises.



SURFACE: 3 600 m_ SHON

CLIENT: « La Croix de l’Aigle » S.A. : Fanny et Nick Rodwell, Studios Hergé. Client representatives: INCA

ATELIER CHRISTIAN DE PORTZAMPARC TEAM : Céline Barda, Bruno Durbecq, Odile Pornin, Yannick Bouchet, Konrad Kuznicki

Posted on Thursday June 25th 2009 at 1:58 pm by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Awesome fun artitecture

  • pablo

    It looks like it would be a lot of fun to explore! I love it.

  • Definately in the running for ‘The Ugliest Building in Belgium’.

  • Jennifer

    no pictures of the display spaces?

  • hj

    Po-Mo is back!

  • Herge is not french? French architect + french director : i think they hope some french visitors there to explore this building …. as a great book of architecture…

  • *Leti*

    I can’t wait to see it!!!

  • This building tells me more about Portzampac than about Hergé and Tintin. Was it the purpose ?

    • thibault

      Exactly to the point, Portzamparc made a formalistic ego building. It’s unrespectful towards Hergé and Tintin.

  • ststst

    I do like the building and the rooms and forms, but the colours….mh…strange? are comics coloured like this?

  • Tolga Yagli

    Hergé is not Walt Disney… Belgium is not one of the U.S.A… And we are not in 80’s…

  • Tolga Yagli, I totally agree with you !

  • lex

    Love the tintin books.
    I recognize the paintings on the walls. They are from Hergé.
    Don’t like this type of architecture, it looks dated.
    But i guess its worth a visit, i want to see all the drawings…

    (prof.z: in belgium we also speak french)

  • wartian

    i hope i am now a little child and explore this building in my fancy imagination. the building bring me to a cartoon world.muy bien!

  • blacksheep

    portzamparc is so 80s and as unsubtle as you can get. his winning the pritzker didn’t do the award any good.

  • WMD

    Though a bit too angular, this building still looks a fantastic space for a tribute to Herge and Tintin. Would love to visit it.

  • chevere

    misplaced intentions…should have spent the money to translate and distribute tintin books to children throughout the world

  • honestly!…
    it reminds me instantly of vidyalankar inst of technology by planet 3 studios architecture!….

    fun to be in….
    fun from the out!…