The panoply of Versailles knockoffs across this great land all take liberties with their subject matter, because this is America, where no historic treasure is too grand to muddy with a weird tribute. But despite its storied status, the real thing is also no stranger to change—it began, after all, as hunting lodge, before a succession of expansions turned it into the luxurious French chateau nonpareil—and soon it will receive an extension that deviates quite a bit from Louis XIV's resplendent baroque style. The project has been placed in the capable hands of France's Dominique Perrault Architects, which proposed to turn the palace's Dufour Wing into a modern visitor's center full of undulating gold-colored flourishes.
The expansion seeks to make the place more accessible while funneling visitors through a single entrance that features a new host of educational facilities, including the wood-slatted auditorium pictured below. The entryway consists of a staircase leading below ground, which takes guests into a gallery-style reception area that branches off into a cloakroom, a tea room, and a number of meeting rooms.
Though previous building efforts stretched over decades, construction on the latest addition should wrap up in 2015. As fate would have it, Florida's 90,000-square-foot Versailles, announced as "back on track" as of last Spring, is also set to be completed next year.
· pavillon dufour at palace of versailles by dominique perrault. [Design Boom]