Kuehm Malvezzi designs Montreal Insectarium to subvert "museological norms and expectations"

Structure studios Kuehn Malvezzi, Pelletier de Fontenay and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes have created an insect zoo and museum in a glazed sawtooth-roof constructing with inside areas that emulate the expertise of being a bug.

The Montreal Insectarium is a part of Area for Life, a science museum district inside Montreal’s Olympic Park that additionally homes a planetarium and botanical backyard.

A sawtooth roof tops The Montreal Insectarium

Based in 1990, the insectarium incorporates habitats for residing bugs, galleries for the show of preserved specimens, and interactive areas that evoke the expertise of being an insect.

Its new constructing was designed to embody a novel strategy to studying in regards to the pure world. By bringing folks in shut contact with bugs, the museum hopes to remodel the general public’s relationship with bugs.

Landscaped vegetation at insect museum in Montreal
The design idea is rooted within the concept of an genuine fusion of structure and nature

The mission was designed by the structure staff of Kuehn Malvezzi, Pelletier de Fontenay and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes, together with panorama agency Atelier Le Balto, after it gained a world competitors to design the museum in 2014.

“Opening at an important second for rethinking relationships between human and non-human biology, the brand new Montreal Insectarium represents a vital new strategy for museums of pure historical past,” the design staff mentioned.

Saw-tooth roof building housing an insect zoo and museum in Montreal, Canada
A domed construction stands subsequent to the principle constructing

Its design idea was rooted within the concept of an genuine fusion of structure and nature and knowledgeable by an in depth evaluation of science museums, orangeries, greenhouses and different buildings associated to the pure world.

“Whereas there’s a wealthy historical past of buildings dedicated to nature, these buildings are interlinked with the exploitation and transformation of the surroundings”, mentioned Kuehn Malvezzi.

Butterflies travelling through the entry plaza of the Montreal Insectarium
Butterflies flutter by means of the pollinator backyard and entry plaza

“Acknowledging the harmful historical past of this conceptual separation between people and different pure life, our design subverts museological norms and expectations,” the studio added.

The Montreal Insectarium consists of three key components. The principle part is a two-storey glass constructing with an oblong plan and sawtooth roof.

Simply to the aspect is a domed construction “that erupts by means of the earth as a planted mound,” the studio mentioned.

Cavernous dark room within Montreal Insectarium in Canada
Guests wind by means of a sequence of darkish rooms

Fronting the constructing is a pollinator backyard and entry plaza, the place butterflies may be discovered fluttering round.

“The backyard blurs the useful divide between the constructing’s inside and exterior,” the studio mentioned.

Climbable rods in insect museum in Montreal
One house encompasses a discipline of climbable rods

Upon coming into the principle constructing, guests move by means of a corridor after which wind by means of a sequence of darkish rooms with installations and shows.

Areas are supposed to “disorient human senses in numerous methods and to imitate the sight, sound and motion of bugs”, the studio mentioned.

One house encompasses a discipline of climbable rods, the place guests can expertise the methods that bugs use to maneuver on totally different surfaces.

One other space is a warren that may be navigated by ducking, crawling and squeezing by means of holes.

Screen with flickering pixels mimicking a fly's vision in insect museum
A display with flickering pixels mimics a fly’s imaginative and prescient

In a single room, a big display with flickering pixels mimics a fly’s imaginative and prescient. One other house has sonic vibrations which might be transmitted by means of a grated flooring and emulate what an insect feels in its physique.

Kuehn Malvezzi emphasised that the museum is designed to be actually immersive.

“Not like museums designed to include altering exhibitions and shows, the Insectarium’s curatorial idea and its museological expression are held within the very structure of the constructing,” the staff mentioned.

Light-filled vivarium within Montreal Insectarium
A light-weight-filled vivarium is discovered on the higher degree

A big, light-filled vivarium is discovered on the higher degree of the principle constructing.

A walkway travels by means of a spread of microclimates supporting totally different species of bugs and crops. In complete, the house holds about 175 species of bugs and 150 various kinds of crops.

“Lots of the bugs, resembling butterflies and caterpillars, transfer freely within the house and may be noticed with out boundaries,” the studio mentioned.

Different areas inside the principle constructing embody a manufacturing greenhouse, a laboratory, a artistic workshop, and worker areas.

Lit up flower animations on the floor of cave-like room at insect museum
Cavernous areas intend to emulate the expertise of being a bug

Past the principle constructing is the domed construction, the place 3,000 preserved specimens are displayed in illuminated packing containers. The shows are organized in two horizontal bands on partitions coated with sprayed-on concrete, generally known as shotcrete.

“The presentation of those bands echoes the spatial and ornamental impact of a frieze and, as with the 10-metre-high ceiling, offers the room a way of ornamentation and grandeur akin to a classical spiritual house,” mentioned the studio.

The staff included a spread of sustainable components, together with shading gadgets, dynamic management methods, roof water recuperation, geothermal wells and using native, VOC-free supplies.

Preserved specimens in illuminated boxes at Montreal Insectarium
Preserved specimens are displayed within the domed construction

The glass constructing’s orientation and materiality had been chosen to permit for “most sunshine all year long” with warmth recovered and redistributed to the remainder of the constructing.

The constructing was designed to earn LEED Gold certification from the US Inexperienced Constructing Council.

Different current museum initiatives in North America embody Studio Gang’s addition to the Pure Historical past Museum in New York Metropolis and the First Individuals Museum in Oklahoma by Johnson Fain.

The pictures is by James Brittain.

Mission credit:

Idea architects and museology: Kuehn Malvezzi
Idea architects: Pelletier de Fontenay
Idea architects, building supervision: Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes
Panorama architects: atelier le balto
Electromechanical engineers: Dupras Ledoux
Structural engineers: NCK
Civil engineers: Genie+, Lévis
Sustainable improvement advisor: CIMA+
Indoor and outside signage: Kuehn Malvezzi with Double Requirements
Execution and web site supervision for museology: La bande à Paul
Particular advisor for greenhouses: Capital Greenhouse
Tree preservation: Nadeau City Forestry