From Monday 6 February 2023, the preparatory work will start for the construction of the extension to the Natural History Museum dedicated to the conservation of its collections, which represent a heritage of global interest with more than 15 million referenced specimens.
This extension will also provide the opportunity to reorganise the existing spaces, to review the areas outside and to improve the energy performance of the site as a whole. Scheduled to run from 2023 to 2027, the work will involve closing the institution to the public for the duration of 2024.
A new building for the collections
More than half a century after the Museum was opened, the construction of an extension dedicated to the collections will add to the two wings built by the architect Raymond Tschudin between 1961 and 1966; one for the public and the other for scientists.
This new third wing, primarily open to scientists, will highlight the conservation work and the study of the collections conducted within the museum.
The City of Geneva’s museum is the largest natural history museum in Switzerland and the most popular museum in the city. Its collections represent a heritage of global interests, with a collection that now boasts more than 15 million specimens, referenced across some 30 km of shelving. A large majority of the specimens are stored in containers filled with alcohol.
In order to comply with the safety standards in force in line with the criteria defined by the Ordinance on Protection against Major Accidents (MAO), a new organisation dedicated to storing and conserving this heritage had become essential. Following an architecture competition held in 2017, the “Ambre” project submitted by MAK architecture SA as selected. The aim of the “Ambre” project is to create a light, translucent and abstract building in the public area which maintains a dialogue with the existing buildings.
An improvement to the existing spaces
Transferring the collections to this extension will involve a partial reorganisation of the existing buildings. The work spaces will be redeveloped to improve the conditions and rationalise the organisation. In the exhibition building, the welcome afforded the public will be improved by a redeveloped entrance, shop and changing rooms. A new space dedicated to temporary exhibitions and a documentarium will also be created.
Outside, the area in front of the entrance will be renovated and the park will be redesigned. The pathways will be completed and furniture will be installed in order to make the green areas more welcoming. The car park will be reduced to the strict minimum, making the public area an extension of the existing park, with new trees and shrubs being planted and the ground being made more permeable.
This major work site will also serve to launch the energy transition of the site as a whole, in particular with the construction of a photovoltaic facility and the installation of green roofs. The heating needs of the new building will thus be sourced entirely from renewable energies. Beginning in February 2023, the work will take place in several stages, finishing in 2027. While all the necessary precautions have been taken to manage this work as efficiently as possible, the city would ask the public to show understanding with regard to the possible temporary disturbances that the work may cause on the site and in the surrounding areas. The work will involve closing the building to the public for the duration of 2024.
A cultural and scientific programme will nevertheless be maintained, with activities planned outside the museum and online. News concerning ongoing research and scientific mediation content will continue to be provided via the Museum’s digital channels.
Provisional timetable – key stages of the work
Construction of the new collections building: February 2023 – autumn 2025.
Work in the existing exhibitions building: end 2023 – end 2026.
Work in the existing science building: autumn 2023 – spring 2027.
Closure of the Natural History Museum: January 2024 to January 2025.
Article modifié le 20.02.2024 à 11:34