Hans Hollein: Volcanology Centre in Clermont-Ferrand, France

Government, Landscape, Sport & Wellness, Museums, Theater,


The European Volcanology Centre designed by Austrian architect Hans Hollein in 1994 rises amidst the hills of the Auvergne region of France, near Clermont-Ferrand.
The structure is surrounded by vast parklands covering 57 hectares of land and measuring 15 kilometres long, and is reached by a narrow, windy road.

Hans Hollein: Volcanology Centre in Clermont-Ferrand, France Three-quarters underground, the construction blends naturally into its environment; it is built out of materials of volcanic origin to reinforce the continuity of nature and architecture.
The whole project aims to set up a permanent dialogue between construction and location; as Hollein points out, Vulcania was built out of basaltic lava flows.
Use of local volcanic stone and red Jura rock augments the chameleon-like ability of the building's outer surface to blend into its setting while also giving the entire construction a very modern look.
Hollein constructed a series of relatively small balconies on different levels, opening up onto the vertiginous depths of the crater below.
This effect is repeated not only on the vertical axis but also on the bridge penetrating the cone and on the upper balcony: tiny outposts on the verge of a huge vista.
The extraordinary scenographic power of the centre combines with use of advanced technologies such as satellite images, interactive information centres, animations, three-dimensional films and simulations of various kinds.
Volcanologists from all over the world work together on supervision of the project to ensure the authenticity and scientific rigour of the information offered to the public.
There is space set aside for experiments conducted with schools in response to requests and school programs.

Visitors are led deeper and deeper down until they experience the physical proximity of the volcanic rock out of which the museum is built, experiencing an extraordinary voyage into the bowels of the earth.

Floriana De Rosa

Link: www.vulcania.com/anglais/guide/visite1.html

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