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Snøhetta’s International Centre for Cave Art opens in Lascaux with full-size replica of ‘Sistine Chapel of Prehistory’ Visitors embark on a journey 20,000 years into the past, says Kim Megson


dramatic new museum

Developed through advanced

celebrating some

Craig Dykers, Snøhetta founder

where there is a panoramic view of the surrounding valley. In groups of

of the world’s most

3D laser scanning and casting

no more than 30, they then descend

famous prehistoric

technologies, and recreated to a

a gentle slope, as if retracing the

cave art has opened at the Lascaux

tolerance of 1mm, the facsimile has

steps of the four young boys who

Cave complex in France.

been recreated by the Périgord

discovered the original cave, and

Facsimile Workshop (AFSP) with

then enter the facsimile.

The E66m (US$70.3m, £56.2m)

The building feels like neither landscape or architecture

the caves called Lascaux IV.

International Centre for Cave Art is

the same humidity, light, sound,

located in the town of Montignac-

smell and 16°C temperature as the

caves, they enter a bright outdoor

sur-Vézère, at the foot of the hill

UNESCO-protected original.

transitional Cave Garden – the

where the Lascaux caves – adorned

Over two years, 25 artists hand

After journeying through the

stark difference in atmosphere

with the highest concentration of

painted 900m (2,900ft) of resin

and light creating a juxtaposition

Paleolithic cave art in Europe –

rock reproductions, using the same

with the underground world. They

were discovered in 1940.

pigments the prehistoric painters

then enter four linked exhibition

used 20,000 years ago to recreate

rooms, including a 3D theatre,

1,900 cave paintings.

which explain the environmental

Within the new centre, designed by Norwegian architects Snøhetta and scenographers Casson Mann,

the lobby to the building’s rooftop,

and cultural context that paved the way for the creation of the cave art,



is a sensorily authentic replica of

Visitors to the centre ascend from

A near-perfect replica of the Lascaux caves has been created by the design team and local artists


CLAD mag 2017 ISSUE 2