The renovation of the Main Building is approaching completion

The renovation work under way in the CERN Main Building should be completed by June. From the floors to the ceilings, everything has been done to give this historic building a new lease of life.


Taken in the early 60s, this picture illustrates how light maintenance was a challenge for the auditorium in CERN’s main building.

Nobody who has recently had to shimmy between the cables, ladders and toolboxes deposited around the main hall of Building 500 to get to the post office, the bank or Restaurant 1 can be oblivious to the fact that the ground floor of the Main Building has been getting a face-lift. The renovation work, which started with the first-floor concourse in June 2010, should be finished over the next couple of months. The first-floor renovations, now almost complete, set the tone for the rest of the project. The floor and ceiling, both fitted with special acoustic materials for efficient noise damping, have been completely refurbished and the Building 60 lifts have been replaced. In the Council Chamber concourse, visitors can admire the new gallery of portraits of past Directors-General while relaxing in newly-created "lounge" areas. Myriam Veyrat, who was tasked by the Management with leading the renovation project, explains: "We went for two distinct furniture styles including, at the top of the staircase on the right, the type of furnishings you might find in some universities. And indeed we have noticed that this area is very popular with younger people at lunch times. It has a really nice atmosphere!"

The Main Auditorium is also being rejuvenated in the framework of the same project and with work in full swing since December, it is scheduled to open its doors again in June. The seating capacity will be increased from 350 to 400 and the stairways widened to allow people to make their way more easily to new, custom-designed seats. Taking inspiration from the ingenious motorised systems used in cathedrals, the GS team has finally managed to solve the problem of maintaining the lights in the ceiling: "It used to take two people four days and a scaffold to change the auditorium's 60 light bulbs," Myriam recalls. "Each lamp now has a little motor to lower it when the bulb needs changing." In addition, the work-teams will soon be installing at the entrance and at the top of the stairs information panels directly linked to the booking service, showing each room's location and what meetings are in progress.

On the ground floor, the floor covering is scheduled to be installed at Easter and while it and the ceiling will be of identical design to those on the first floor, the whole atmosphere will more business-like. In the Users Office corridor, internet terminals and benches will give this important thoroughfare a cyber-café feel, with wi-fi wireless broadband providing Internet access to all and sundry. Staff and users will be able to catch up with the latest news on their clubs and associations or on upcoming events at the Globe of Science and Innovation via two practical, interactive terminals equipped with touch-screens. Display cases will be mounted along the glass façade for the various exhibitions hosted by the Staff Association. Largely untouched since the 1960s, the Main Building is about to embark on its second youth !  

The names of the Main Building meeting rooms are changing

In line with the changes taking place in the Main Building, the names of the meeting rooms have been modified as follows:
- room A becomes room D
- room B becomes room C
- room C becomes room B
Furthermore, a letter has been added to the Main Auditorium (A), the Council Chamber (E), and room 60-6-015 (F).


by Anaïs Schaeffer