The new Museum of Biodiversity and Environment in Orleans takes its place as a clear presence within the city. Its fresh face expresses and reveals its mission to house and protect life, to reconcile the mineral with the vegetal, and to reconsider the relationship between city and biodiversity in order to raise awareness in the face of today's environmental challenges, and those to come.
Existing cladding in stone and brick slips along with all decorative elements were removed to reveal raw, solid concrete. Over this, we have designed a bioclimatic envelope made up of vertical white spines covered in scales of clear glass; a large glasshouse, vertical and urban, associating vegetation and architecture. Hanging in front of the facade of the existing building, it houses and protects indigenous vegetation that colonises and reclaims the historic building, shed of its superfluous skin. While the glasshouse incorporates urban diversity, it also welcomes the museum's visitors, offering an unusual final experience to the museum visit, as well as outdoor spaces. The visitors thereby activate the facade, affirming the institution's public vocation and dynamism within the urban environment.
The new building also provides a formidable tool for teaching and experimentation in the reintroduction of biodiversity to the city. This provides potential to develop cross-sector partnerships with key local actors around these issues. The reintroduction of biodiversity into the city, the clear museographic route that affirms its public vocation, and the drive for experimentation are the three components of its new identity that the museum will communicate within the urban environment. An identity that aims to re-position and open the museum up to the city.
The building's new entrance comprises a large glazed facade opening the hall to outside world. A canopy extends the double-skin, indicating and protecting the museum entrance. Opposite the main entrance, in public space, a low, mineral base slots into existing urban developments. This volume contains vertical circulation and tiers for the visitors to sit.The hall has been moved to the double-height ground floor of the east building. It thereby finds a new spatial quality adapted to its use, and houses around its periphery all the service areas (toilets, cloakrooms, museum shop, etc.). Entering the permanent exhibition space, visitors are met with a breath-taking view over the triple-height atrium. The volume, pierced through the three floors of the building, brings spatial quality to the heart of the scenographic installation. The reserves, organised behind a large triple-height vitrine within the atrium, form a subtle filter between the museum spaces to the south and the reserves to the north. This device gives visitors a feeling of visiting backstage as well as the stage itself. The vertical circulation is organised along the length of the atrium, forming a coherent, transversal space linking the different areas that are arranged on each level.
MUSEUM OF ORLEANS FOR BIODIVERSITY AND ENVIRONMENT