Architecture    Culture   
Canadian museum of nature

NATURAL HERITAGE BUILDING

The CANADIAN MUSEUM OF NATURE is a national institution that collects, studies and validates animal, vegetal and mineral specimens. The museum required a unique, high-quality building that would bring our natural heritage under one roof, because the facilities were previously spread across several buildings in the Ottawa area. The complex also needed to house reserve collections in three highly controlled environments for optimal conservation.

Country

Canada

City

Aylmer

Client

Groupe Axor
Musée canadien de la nature

Surface Area

22 000 m2

Year

1997

Partners

Desnoyers Mercure et Associés architectes

Electromechanics

Bouthillette Parizeau

Structure

Calculatec inc.

Landscaping

Parent Latreille et Associés

The architectural concept is a tree-shaped network designed to meet stringent project requirements of accommodating conservation areas, laboratories and workshops, staging travelling exhibitions, in addition to housing offices, a cafeteria and library. When additional space is required to house new reserve collections or build new research laboratories, the tree-like building will be able to extend outward unimpeded.

The remarkable flexibility of the building is also apparent in the way it has been adapted to a cedar grove in its natural surroundings. Strict environmental impact controls were imposed on the site and building. The tree-trunk division into separate areas creates a strong visual link between the man-made complex and natural environment.

Permanent contact with nature is maintained in the workplace through a variety of openings that frame the constantly changing woods. The interior design features an interplay of well-defined, user-friendly spaces for occupants. The intrinsic value of the building stems from its relation with the surrounding environment that echoes the changing seasons.

Distinctions

2005

Third Award of Excellence, Quebec Metal Covering Contractors Association

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