For more than 100 years it has been host to great artists and writers, now the Lutetia hotel is undergoing a renovation with help from CEMEX.
Both its size and Art Deco architecture set the magnificent Lutetia hotel apart in Paris, France. When it was built in 1910 at the height of the Belle Époque period, aristocrats preferred to stay at the luxurious hotels close to the Louvre. The Lutetia became instead the go-to venue for the century's artists and bohemian types, from Pablo Picasso to Josephine Baker.
Through more than 100 years, the Lutetia has survived multiple changes in ownership, including a German occupation during WWII and a subsequent repurposing by the Allied troops as a repatriation center. Now the 4-star luxury hotel is getting a well-deserved makeover to bring it into the modern era while still respecting its original spirit.
The distinctive Art Deco façade and glamorous salons will remain intact, but almost every other space is undergoing a complete renovation. James Joyce wrote part of his great novel Ulysses during a stay at the Lutetia. However, a 21st century author will be able to write an opus much more comfortably after the rooms are modernized with brand new plumbing, electrical systems, and air conditioning.
Such an in-depth undertaking on a building that is part of Paris’ historic heritage is always a careful process. Some of the plaster adornments are very fragile, and as is the case for all construction sites in downtown Paris, the lack of space and security requirements can complicate operations. The tons of earth excavated to build the two additional basements had to be removed from the site, and concrete had to be delivered in small quantities of no more than 4 to 6 cubic meters (~5 to 8 cubic yards) per day, sometimes via crane. Adding the factor of a very short timeline—just three years to completion—meant there was no room for mistakes.
A lighter-weight concrete was needed for the structural work in order to limit overloading and maintain the weight of the original structure. Due to the restricted space, it was also necessary to pump the concrete across a distance of up to 200 meters (~219 yards). To tackle this constraint, CEMEX employed a specialty concrete mix that met the weight requirements, while maintaining the right consistency for pumping from a distance. CEMEX had previously tested the same concrete mix on a construction site at Gare du Nord.
The grand reopening is planned for 2017. Soon this Bohemian beauty will enter a new era, once again playing host to the Rive Gauche’s liveliest characters.
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. Celebrating its 110th anniversary, CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.