Kanva completes CA$25m redesign of Montreal's 'living museum', the Biodome

Montreal's famous science museum, Biodome, has received a major revamp
The CA$25m overhaul included a number of biophilic design features
Designed by architects Kanva, the works were commissioned by Space for Life, which operators the attraction
The project brief was to enhance the immersive experience between visitors and the museum’s ecosystems

Work has been completed on the redevelopment of Montreal's Biodome – a science museum which occupies the site of the former velodrome built for the 1976 Olympic Games.

The Biodome allows visitors to walk through replicas of five ecosystems found in the Americas – a tropical rainforest, a maple forest, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, a sub-Antarctic island environment, and the Labrador Coast.

Biodome is one of four attractions located within the city's "museum district" – the other three being Planetarium, Insectarium, and Botanical Garden. Together, the facilities host more than 4,500 animal and 500 plant species.

Designed by Canadian architects Kanva, the CA$25m overhaul of the attraction has added a number of biophilic design features, such as a white, undulating "living skin" being wrapped around the building.

Kanva was commissioned for the redevelopment project by Space for Life (Espace Pour la Vie), the body charged with overseeing operations of the Biodome and the other attractions in the museum district.

The project saw Kanva targeting spaces that could be transformed in ways that would "maximise the value of the building’s architectural heritage".

The carving of a new core, combined with the demolition of the particularly low ceiling at the entrance of the building, now allows visitors to appreciate the scale of the existing space.

The entry tunnel features a very subtle floor incline, intended to slow the pace of movement through a compressed white passage, and to "void the mind for fresh sensory input".

Once visitors reach the central core, smaller slits in the living skin, called eco-transits, lead them towards the ecosystem entrances.

As automatic doors at the end of the eco-transit open into the ecosystem, it remains visually obstructed by a curtain of beads.

By the time visitors pass through the beads, they have been exposed to the climate, smells, and sounds of the natural habitat before seeing anything.

At the entrance of the Subpolar Regions, Kanva designed a new ice tunnel that acclimatises visitors during the transition, while the sounds and smells of puffins and penguins ahead provide additional sensory stimulation.

According to Rami Bebawi, the project’s lead architect and partner at Kanva, the brief was to bring the museum closer to its visitors.

“Our mandate was to enhance the immersive experience between visitors and the museum’s distinct ecosystems, as well as to transform the building’s public spaces,” he said.

“In doing so, we proudly embraced the role that the Biodome plays in sensitizing humans to the intricacies of natural environments, particularly in the current context of climate change and the importance of understanding its effects.

"In gutting the existing ceiling, we opened the space skyward to the building’s extraordinary roof, composed of massive skylight panels that infuse an abundance of natural light."

Bebawi added that, as part of the design process, the practice studied the "tremendous complexity" of the building – described as a living entity comprised of ecosystems and complex machinery that is critical to supporting life.

"We realised that any type of intervention would need to be very delicate, and that a global strategy to the scale of the mandate would require careful coordination and management of numerous micro interventions.

"Every decision required consultations across multiple disciplines, and it became a truly collaborative effort that embraced Kanva’s storyline."

Biodome  Kanva  Space for Life  Espace pour la vie 
Related stories
12 Aug 2016

Montreal's birthday gift: City to revamp exotic biodome for 375th anniversary

27 Oct 2008

Planetarium planned for Montreal

More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7603     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7603     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

Winding pathways lead visitors through the site, connecting Whiting Forest with Dow Gardens
Alan Metcalfe
"When people are a bit scared, they gather together"

Featuring a vibrating glass platform and one of the US’s longest tree canopy walks, Whiting Forest has been designed to bring visitors closer to nature and to one another

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The Electric Lemon restaurant features glamorous interiors by Rockwell Group
"Further hotels have been confirmed for Los Angeles, Santa Clara, CA, Seattle, Chicago and Houston"

Rockwell Group and Joyce Wang on the inspirations behind the guest rooms, public spaces, spa and gym at Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards

Francis graduated as a landscape architect in Belgium. He returned to Lebanon in 1993
"I believe gardens are where the soul rests"

With a focus on desert landscapes and collaborations with Zaha Hadid and OMA, the principal of Francis Landscapes has a deep belief in the power of nature

Last word: Tina Norden
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

features
"It was born from the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale"

How a moment of desperation led to BIG’s CopenHill, the clean power plant that’s doubling as a skiing and leisure destination. Magali Robathan speaks to the architects that made it happen

Extreme Climates: Into the wild
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

The design of the Da Sistina restaurant was inspired by traditional Roman trattoria
Olga Polizzi is director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels and also owns two of her own hotels
"On Via Sistina, everything breathes history. At the same time I wanted to reflect the modern hunger for the fantastical - Tommaso Ziffer"

Following the highly anticipated launch of Rome’s Hotel de la Ville, Rocco Forte’s director of design reflects on a fascinating project

cladkit product news
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
cladkit product news
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
cladkit product news
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates