2000/2004

Paladru Archaeology Museum and Park

The site is an extensive protected wetland, at the western end of Lake Paladru. The museum, unbuilt, was to house objects found in the remains of Neolithic and mediaeval villages submerged under the waters of the lake. The museum’s architecture, poetic and mysterious, springs from the landscape, in a quest for fusion with nature.

The lake has created a remarkable landscape, an extremely readable territory unified by the standing water of the lake. The wetland where the museum-park was to stand offers a particularly rich ecological environment, because of its position at the interface between water, earth and air. The wetland functions as a sponge. The water dynamics, due to quantitative and temporal variations, is the site’s ecologic engine.

The building extends along an axis 160 metres long, perpendicular to the contour lines: it is situated "with the grain of the water". It is elevated so as not to create a break in the landscape. The extension of the reed bed around the building emphasises this effect of a structure that has sprung from nature. The wetland is not interrupted and seems to run under the building. The "underside" is a wide, roofed pontoon, which extends far out into the lake and contains all the accesses: public, staff, boat moorings, starting point for walks in the park and to reconstructions of Neolithic and mediaeval villages.

The museum is a landmark in the landscape. We wanted it strange and mysterious to inspire curiosity, incite a visit. It resembles a branch, whose main stem and twigs bend to meet the axis of the lake. This reference to plant morphology gives the structure a certain freedom, despite the fact that it is built to a strict controlling plan.

The tour of the museum is linear, a sequence of all the itineraries available in the park. The scenography concept led to an alternation between opaque and transparent spaces. To generate a unified whole and avoid breaking up the line, all sides of the structure are enveloped in a wooden lattice which suggests an airy web in its construction. By contrast, the background materials of the facades, behind the lattice, are bright, as if precious: glass, metal, coloured lacquer work. By erasing the traditional attributes of a building (doors, windows, roofs), the project conveys an abstract impression. The filter, by allowing a glimpse of the structures contained within, like objects in a basket, contributes to the mystery.


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Client
Isère Regional Council

Area
2,600 m2 total floor area

Cost budget
Building + stage design: €4.73 million excluding VAT
Exteriors: €1.52 million excluding VAT

Location
Montferrat, Paladru Lake

Project management
Hérault Arnod Architectes lead architect – architecture and scenography design
Éric Alfiéri, project manager
Cap Paysage, landscape, joint representative
Biotech, ecology
Batiserf, structure
Nicolas, fluids
Michel Forgue, economics
Éric Leprince, graphic design
Nadine Salabert, museum design
Hervé Audibert, lighting

Timetable
Definition plan 2000
Signature of project management contract April 2001
Tender 2004
Delivery: The project is currently frozen because of administrative problems linked to the planned operation on the wetland.

Programme
Permanent exhibition rooms, one focusing on the Neolithic village, the other on the year 1000
Temporary exhibition room
Workshops for school parties
Lecture room
Café
Administration

Models
Michel Dioudonnat
Atelier Fau
Hérault Arnod

Photographs
André Morin

Images
Kilinc – Wallon
Hérault Arnod