Beautour Thatched Museum and Biodiversity Research Centre

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Beautour Thatched Museum and Biodiversity Research Centre
Thatching covers both the walls and roof of this wildlife museum and research centre in Beautour, France. Designed by French studio Guinée*Potin Architectes, the Centre Beautour is located in the former grounds of biologist Georges Durand (1886-1964), who spent his career studying the birds, insects, plants and mammals that he found during travels across France, Africa and the Pyrenees. The architects have renovated the existing three-storey house and extended it by adding a single-storey structure with a thatched exterior. They also developed a landscape strategy for the grounds, intended to create a diverse local ecosystem.

"The project is neither a theme park, nor an ornamental garden," they explained. "This really is a site-specific project, inspired by the local biodiversity, the topography and the other qualities that are proper to Beautour." Thatching made from reeds was chosen for the exterior of the new building, as a reference to a traditional construction technique in the Vendée region. "The choice of thatched skin allows a contrast with Durand's mansion," architect Hervé Potin told Dezeen. "The building grows organically, embracing the mansion and spreading out to the site without overthrowing the natural order."

The building is raised off the ground on wooden pillars, reducing its impact on the landscape and allowing space underneath for a shallow pond. "Making the building rise up the ground allows the biodiversity to stay in place," said the architect. "The project slowly lifts up to unveil the pond hosting frogs and herons." A wooden ramp leads visitors into both the new and old parts of the complex. While the old house accommodates research laboratories and events spaces, the new wing contains permanent and temporary exhibition spaces.

Description by http://www.dezeen.com/

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19 photos and 6 drawings

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  • Iliana Ivanova
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