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Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center | AWP + HHF

Place: Carrières-sous-Poissy, Country: France
Poissy Galore - Observatory, Insects Museum and Visitor Center
Carrières-sous-Poissy, Paris, France
Project: AWP + HHF
Text: Inexhibit
Images and drawings, courtesy of HHF Architekten
Photos: Julien Lanoo

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center. Exterior view
Photos Julien Lanoo. Courtesy of HHF Architekten.

Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center
AWP-office for territorial reconfiguration + HHF Architekten

Named Parc du Peuple de l’Herbe, a new public park was recently created on the banks of the Seine river in Carrières-sous-Poissy, on the outskirts of Paris, close to the iconic Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in the 1920s.
Planned by Paris-based landscape architects Agence TER, the 113-hectare protected ecosystem is intended to become a popular leisure destination for both the local community and the inhabitants of Paris, who can reach it in about 30 minutes by the RER train network.
The “Parc du Peuple de l’Herbe”, located in an area of unique natural and environmental qualities listed in the ZNIEFF inventory (Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Ecologique, Faunistique et Floristique), has been conceived to maximize the site’s biodiversity, by protecting its habitats and fostering its wildlife.

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Parc du Peuple de l’Herbe, photo Julien Lanoo. Courtesy of HHF Architekten

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center, site plan, Courtesy of HHF Architekten

An array of new small buildings and pavilions is also part of the park.
The two architectural practices which designed the park’s buildings – Paris and Basel based AWP-office for territorial reconfiguration, and Basel’s HHF Architekten – won a competition, which was organized in 2011 to find the best designs for a visitor center, a restaurant, an observation tower, and a museum, the Poissy Galore Insects Museum, aimed to showcase a large collection of living and conserved insects.

Local “non-pedigreed”and rural architecture substantially influenced the architects.
Indeed, AWP and HHF based their design on the hybridization of two local archetypes – the barge and the suburban detached house – to create a new building model, which skillfully combines contemporary architecture and the cultural heritage and identity of this peculiar site.

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center. Exterior views
Photos Julien Lanoo. Courtesy of HHF Architekten

Apart form the observation tower, whose structure is made in steel, the pavilions – as well as those little constructions which the architects themselves call “small follies” – are based on a modular timber frame system which combines elements from a predefined catalog of portal frames, made in fir wood, of slightly different geometry and size, fixed to a concrete foundation slab.

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center. Axonometric view
Courtesy of HHF Architekten

Through this technique, the architects were able to create interesting and surprising structures, obtaining a diverse array of different forms by combining a reduced number of element types. Furthermore, this approach has made possible to built the structures using local workforce and materials, substantially reducing construction costs and environmental impact.

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center. Ground floor plan and sections. Courtesy of HHF Architekten

In detail, The Poissy Galore Insects Museum accommodates visitor services, exhibition galleries, a special event hall, a reception area, staff offices, storage areas for the museum’s collection, which comprises various species of arthropods, and a facility specifically designed for raising living insects. The museum has been nominated in December 2016 for the Mies Van Der Rohe Award for European Architecture 2017.

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center. Internal views
Photos Julien Lanoo. Courtesy of HHF Architekten

From a geometric point of view, the single-story building of the museum is composed of five intersecting boxes, which form a fluid sequence of gabled-roofed wood-clad volumes.
Thanks to its formal purity and skillful facade design, especially in winter, the museum seems to almost “vanish” into the hazy landscape around.

Slightly raised above the ground, the museum is a distinctive, albeit discreet, landmark when seen from the outside by those who are visiting the natural reserve, and a fascinating venue and privileged point of view on the zoological collections and the surrounding scenery for the public inside it.

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center. The observatory.
Photos Julien Lanoo. Courtesy of HHF Architekten.

Poissy Galore – Observatory, Insects Museum and Visitor Center

Project: AWP + HHF
Location: Carrières-sous-Poissy, Paris, France
Client: Communauté d’Agglomération Deux Rives de Seine
Competition: 2011, 1st Prize
Design and Construction: 2011 / 2016
Area: 113 ha / 1’900 m2 approx.
Team AWP: ARMENGAUD ARMENGAUD CIANCHETTA
with Miguel La Parra Knapman, Gemma Guinovart and Helena Frigola, Juan Garrido, Ruth Grande, David Perez.
Team HHF: HERLACH HARTMANN FROMMENWILER
with David Gregori y Ribes, Aleris Rogers, Philippe Guillod, Camille Aïssaoui.

The Insects Museum has been nominated in December 2016 for the Mies Van Der Rohe Award for European Architecture 2017.

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AWP+HHF | Poissy Galore – Insects Museum and Visitor Center. The observatory.
Photos Julien Lanoo. Courtesy of HHF Architekten.

Images courtesy of HHF Architekten. http://www.hhf.ch/hhf.html


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