The transformation from pool into museum took place in two stages under the guidance of architect Jean-Paul Philippon. After the closure of the swimming pools in 1985, the year 2001 marked a new beginning and the opening of the museum, which can be reached by following the long red brick wall of the old adjacent cotton mill.
The first renovation brought back to its original splendor of the Art Deco mosaics that surrounded the central pool and the thermal baths with their surrounding public spaces, where the over 70,000 artifacts and works of art from the museum’s collection are now exhibited: the sculptures are on display in the central pool, the paintings in the rooms of the side spa baths and the selection of ancient textile artifacts, from Ancient Egypt to today, in the spaces that once housed the showers, turned into display cases.
The natural light from the large colored windows adds further charm to the layout, accounting for its definition given by the prestigious Journal des Artsas “the most beautiful French museum outside of Paris”.
On October 20, 2018, after two years of works, the new renovation of the museum was inaugurated with the addition of three new areas created by Jean Paul Philippon, in perfect harmony with the style of the existing buildings. These new spaces, covering over 2,000 square meters, will house additional services for the visitors (particularly for children) and exhibition areas devoted to the history of Roubaix and to emerging local artists.
In addition to the permanent collection, until the beginning of 2019 La Piscine-Roubaix will present three main exhibitions focusing respectively on Hervé di Rosa, a contemporary French painter, and to works by Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti: the sculpture Man With Sheepand the Portrait of Rol-Tanguy, a hero of the French resistance. In both cases, the works are the perfect excuse to tell about the historical and biographical context that produced them, interweaving history and art as it is in the nature of this literally unique museum.