Clasped hands inspire winning design for Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier
It has been a productive few months for Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The edgy practice, whose team is split between Copenhagen and New York, has opened the Danish National Maritime Museum in Helsingør, gained funding for the Blåvand Bunker Museum in Varde, released further details of Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, and been shortlisted to design the grounds of the Natural History Museum in London.
Today comes news that BIG has also been selected as the winner of a competition for the new Cité du Corps Humain (Museum of the Human Body) in Montpellier, France as part of a team including A+ Architecture, Egis, Base, L’Echo, Celsius Environment and CCVH. The competition was posted by WAN’s Business Information Service (view brief).
The €18m scheme is due to complete in 2018 as part of the newly developed area of Parc Marianne. Drawing on the rich medical heritage of Montpellier and its humanist values and impressive school of medicine, the winning concept will provide an engaging public facility where visitors can learn more about their own bodies from artistic, scientific and societal perspectives.
Spatially the design is defined by 8 main areas which merge organically across a single level. Naturally lit by sunlight that flows in through generous panes, the exhibition spaces offer cultural activities, interactive exhibitions, performances and workshops. Above this exhibition venue is an accessible roof which functions as an ergonomic garden. Visitors are invited to use the roof to further explore the human form ‘and express their bodies in various ways’.
Of his successful concept, Bjarke Ingels states: “Like the mixture of two incompatible substances - oil and vinegar - the urban pavement and the parks turf flow together in a mutual embrace forming terraced pockets overlooking the park and elevating islands of nature above the city. A series of seemingly singular pavilions that weave together to form a unified institution - like individual fingers united together in a mutual grip.”