Between heritage and modernity

A contemporary interpretation of the historical thermal baths

Anne Démians and Nicolas Chabanne created a dialogue between heritage and modernity in the design of Nancy Thermal’s 20,000 m² space.

The architects completed Louis Lanternier’s project and juxtaposed the building housing the historical thermal baths with a structure in contemporary lines extending the original design.

The new façade demonstrates its modernity, both in its colour and lines. Yet it respects the symmetry and traditional sequencing of the site, in order to create a contemporary interpretation of the historical thermal baths.

The renovation of this outstanding heritage site and the conservation of architectural elements received considerable attention, with the expertise of Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Inspector General of Historical Monuments. The crossover between old and new is the crux of the project: drawing on Nancy’s historical past and turning resolutely towards the future.

The thermal baths, as well as the huge Olympic-size swimming pool and the public baths, were registered as Historical Monuments in 2020.

An extraordinary construction project

Started at the end of 2019, the Nancy Thermal construction project stands out in several respects: size, historical and symbolic responsibility, and as an extraordinary construction project mobilising innovative and heritage know-how.

The programme combined deconstruction, restoration and new construction. Heritage features dating from the beginning of the 20th century were restored in conjunction with the head architect of Bâtiments de France. Spectacular work was undertaken, such as the installation of a 15.5-metre-high dome in September 2021, extending the existing cupolas just as Louis Lanternier himself had intended.

This was also an environmentally-friendly project. This was demonstrated by the focus on preserving the common midwife toad, a protected amphibious species existing on the site, or reusing the 17,000 tonnes of materials that were crushed when creating the flooring of the thermal spaces. The benefits of this reuse meant that 305 tonnes of CO2 and 2,000 journeys by 18-tonne lorries were avoided.

Mathieu Klein, Mayor of Nancy, President of Greater Nancy

“Nancy Thermal is the revival of an exceptional heritage which reconnects with the thermal history of our city, it is a new leisure offering accessible to all, for wellness and health at the heart of the city which meets the high expectations of both residents and tourists alike. It will make Greater Nancy the top thermal destination in France in 2023.”