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Brick-by-brick move of Curie building cancelled

Image: Wellcome Collection [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Historic Parisian building will now be “integrated” into new cancer biology labs

The French government has scrapped its previous plans to deconstruct, move and rebuild the Pavillon des Sources, a vacant two-storey building that was used by Marie Skłodowska-Curie for her research, to make way for new cancer labs.

Instead, the Pavillon des Sources will remain in place and be “integrated” into a new building that will house the research centre, according to a joint statement from the government and the Curie Institute, the private non-profit research foundation that will run the labs.

Staying put

The previous plan, to move the Pavillon des Sources “brick by brick” so that a five-storey centre for research into the chemical biology of cancer could be built on the site, was announced in January following a campaign led by Baptiste Gianeselli, a defender of Parisian heritage, to protect the building.

However, the government now says the removal and reconstruction of the building will not be necessary: “Following an in-depth study…the new project allows the Pavillon des Sources to remain in its initial location and be integrated into a new building dedicated to research called Marie Curie—Claudius Regaud.” Claudius Regaud was a biologist who worked with Skłodowska-Curie on studies of cancer radiotherapy.

Campaigner reaction

Gianeselli, who had previously suggested he would not campaign against the plan to remove and reconstruct the building, wrote about his renewed concern for the site on social media platform X.

He wrote: “The Institut Curie plans to build its [six-storey] building above and against the Pavilion on its sides (except garden)!”

This has not been confirmed by the government, which has said it will publish the full plans for the new building “soon” but has not given a date.

Gianeselli also said that such a construction project would be incompatible with a protection order, which culture minister Rachida Dati had initially promised to give to the building. He will continue to campaign for that order to be granted, he said.