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The Insectarium metamorphosis

Insectarium’s Metamorphosis
  • Insectarium’s Metamorphosis
  • Insectarium’s Metamorphosis
  • Insectarium’s Metamorphosis

The Insectarium’s Metamorphosis, in symbiosis with nature

“The Insectarium’s Metamorphosis is above all a human metamorphosis.”

Anne Charpentier, director of the Jardin botanique

Banking on its own tradition of innovation, the Insectarium is undertaking the Metamorphosis project as a genuine architectural and scenographic transformation that will reinvent our relationship with insects. Besides offering visitors an immersive, educational museum visit, its new design will provide them with totally new sensory experiences and unique encounters thanks to some bold innovations.

By allying architecture with nature, the architects are seeking to create a real biotope in which insects, plants and human beings interact and live in symbiosis. The integrated, translucent architecture reveals nature in all its splendour through a very original use of space and materials.

An Integrated, translucent and green architecture

The architecture and identifying signature of the new Insectarium respect that essence to the point where the building disappears, giving way to nature and its interpretation. The glass architecture becomes an integral part of the botanical garden and leaves room for a large number of views of its landscapes. It is also based on a partly underground tour route inspired by insects’ habitat.

The sober yet bold design makes extensive use of glass to enable visitors to see how certain spaces work to support insect life (breeding areas, plant production, labs).

Aiming for LEED Gold certification, the metamorphosed Insectarium incorporates energy-efficient building features such as geothermal energy, natural light combined with LED lighting, durable materials, efficient temperature controls, responsible water management, operable windows and a huge garden for pollinators.

An immersive, sensory experience

The tour route immerses visitors in the destabilizing world of insects. Underground galleries help them see the world as if they were insects before they emerge to find themselves in a large glass vivarium where they can observe insects, including free-flying butterflies, year round. In an amazing dome, the tour circuit also showcases the Insectarium’s wonderful collections of naturalized insects and includes a series of creative workshops in which visitors take insects as a source of inspiration as they reinvent the world.

Architectural competition

Reasserting its intention to combine science, art and emotion, Space for Life launched an international architectural competition in February 2014 that included the Insectarium’s Metamorphosis project. A distinguished international jury made up of well-known figures from the world of architecture and design, as well as experts in biophilia and sustainable development, selected the winning team. The Ville de Montréal’s Bureau du design helped Space for Life develop and run the competition.

Winning team

  • Kuehn Malvezzi + Pelletier de Fontenay + Jodoin Lamarre
  • Pratte architectes + Dupras Ledoux + NCK
  • Kuehn Malve zzi: Lead designer / Scenographer / Museologist
  • Pelletier de Fontenay: Architect and designer
  • Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes: Project architects
  • Dupras Ledoux: Electromechanical engineering
  • NCK: Structural engineering

The Berlin architecture studio KUEHN MALVEZZI was founded in 2001 by architects Johannes and Wilfried KUEHN and Simona MALVEZZ I. Recognized as one of the world’s leading architectural firms specializing in museums, it concentrates on architectural designs that welcome the public, primarily spaces dedicated to culture, the arts and teaching. Among the large-scale projects KUEHN MALVEZZ I has designed are the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in the Hamburger Bahnhof–Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin, the extension of the Museum of World Cultures in Frankfurt and the building of the interreligious House of One, a house of prayer in Berlin containing a church, a mosque and a synagogue.

Founded in 2010 by architects Hubert Pelletier and Yves de Fontenay, Pelletier de Fontenay quickly gained a reputation as one of the most promising young architecture studios in Canada. In 2013, it won a prestigious Canadian Architect Award and in 2015 received the Phyllis Lambert Grant for its active involvement in the architectural life of Montreal.

Since 1958, JODOIN LAMARRE PRATTE ARCHITECTES has been designing human-scaled, sustainable, functional institutional buildings, especially in the fields of health, culture and transportation. The firm has garnered over 125 prizes for excellence and distinction in architecture, including the 2019 Grand prix du design de Montréal, cultural institution category, for the Théâtre Gilles-Vigneault and the 2018 Governor General’s Medal for Excellence in Architecture for the Michal & Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

The design for the Insectarium’s Metamorphosis received an Award of Merit from Canadian Architect magazine in 2018.

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