Space for Life: reconnecting humans with nature

Space for Life map
Credit: Espace pour la vie
Space for Life map
  • Space for Life map
  • Visitors to the Insectarium
  • Visit of the Courtyard of the Senses at the Jardin botanique
  • Biodôme migration
  • Visitors at the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan
Space for Life: reconnecting humans with nature

Work on carrying out the Biodôme Migration is getting started soon. This project is the result of an international architecture competition, launched in 2014 and won by the Montréal-based consortium of KANVA + NEUF architect(e)s + Bouthillette Parizeau + NCK. It’s the incarnation of the Space for Life vision, which is rooted in values that have been championed for more than eighty-five years.

Over the last decade, Space for Life has welcomed some two million visitors a year, establishing itself as the largest natural-sciences complex in Canada.

Space for Life brings together the expertise of workers from the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Jardin botanique and the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. Staff members in charge of collections, research, education, knowledge dissemination – everyone, together, working with the same goal in mind: to guide human beings towards a fuller experience of nature.

The genesis of Space for Life actually dates back to 1931, to the creation of the Jardin botanique. From the start, its founders, Brother Marie-Victorin and Henry Teuscher, were innovative in that they endowed it with a social and educational mission, alongside its scientific mission. By way of evidence, this quotation from the “Ideal Botanical Garden,” by Henry Teuscher: “The botanical garden of the future has a serious task to fulfill, that of helping uprooted citizens rediscover or maintain the salutary connection with nature – which, after all, they are part of.”

That idea of reconnecting human beings with nature has prevailed this entire time, becoming a matter of course. It was integrated naturally into the mission of the Planétarium (1966), the Insectarium (1990) and the Biodôme (1992), effectively sealing the path that those museums would take.

Space for Life has thus been built on the singular story of the entities that go into it, on their credibility, their commitment, their knowhow and their renown; museums with a unique flavor, with strong complementarities; museums that share a single vision. Together, they present a more complete portrait of nature, a message whose impact is therefore that much greater.

At Space for Life, Ville de Montréal is carrying out a social project that aims to position the city as a standard bearer in a vast movement for biodiversity, an appeal to the collective actions of citizens.

Space for Life chose a specific approach in order to reach as many people as possible: that of offering a powerful and one-of-a-kind experience of nature, one that unites sciences, arts and emotions.

This way of doing things is reflected in large-scale undertakings. In the wake of completing the Biodiversity Centre at the Jardin botanique, in collaboration with Université de Montréal (2011); the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan (2013), with its LEED Platinum certification; and the Biodôme Migration, which is getting under way, Space for Life personnel are working on the implementation of the Insectarium’s Metamorphosis and the Jardin botanique’s Pathway to Phytotechnologies.

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