France’s Musée des Confluences looks like a spacecraft straight out of the Star Wars universe

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The project that started back in 2001, and incurred several hiccups along the way, has finally reached its conclusion in the form of the new Musée des Confluences. Located in Lyon, France, this unusually-designed museum actually looks like a spacecraft meandering through the Star Wars universe. Having survived several construction hurdles and setbacks, the $301 million (£ 200 million) museum has recently opened its doors to the general public.

Musée des Confluences-1Designed by Austrian architectural firm, Coop Himmelb(l)au, the overlapping portions of the new structure are symbolic of the confluence of different branches of knowledge, namely science, biology, history, archaeology, anthropology and ethics. According to the architects, its asymmetrical design represents mutations and deformities of different shapes and forms. The exterior of the building is lined with 3 mm-thick steel plates that have previously been polished by means of bead blasting. A perfect exemplar of modern architecture, the 26,700-square-meter structure features two intricately-connected sections. Helene Lafont-Couturier, the museum’s director, said:

The museum’s architecture – a deconstructivist design – is an object of curiosity in itself. At the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, this airy structure of crystal glass and intersecting steel offers an unparalleled view that changes with the light of day, the seasons and the weather.

Musée des Confluences-4Complete with a capacious foyer and a stunning spiral ramp, both of which are visible through the glass wall, the newly-constructed building is situated next to the A7 Autoroute du Soleil and also Lyon’s docks. Facing the town’s main area, the ‘Crystal’, named after its crystalline, transparent glass-and-steel structure, acts as the entryway for the building. Designed to receive guests and visitors, this section serves as an urban forum and, also houses the centrally-located Gravity Well. The ‘Could’, on the other hand, consists of a series of rooms that, in turn, function as the exhibition areas. The firm’s spokesperson said:

[The Crystal’s] clear, readable forms stand for the world in which we move each day. The cloud, by contrast, holds the knowledge of the future. What is known and what is to be explored are understood in the Musée des Confluences as a spatial experimental design to stimulate public curiosity.

Musée des Confluences-8Resembling an enormous spaceship in appearance, the ‘Cloud’ is constructed such that it floats on pillars, without the help of any support. Ten darkened rooms, used for conducting exhibitions, are present on three different floors. An additional floor, at the top, houses the offices. Of the ten auditoriums, three are used for permanent exhibitions. Two of the galleries have seating capacities of 372 and 122 guests respectively. This section also includes an open area, called “Connecting Space”, that interconnects the adjacent rooms.

Musée des Confluences-3Among the artifacts, preserved in the Musée des Confluences, is a 1000-year-old mummy that was recovered, in 2012, from a temple in Peru. Additionally, there are over 2 million historically-significant relics dating back to the age of antiquity. Lafont-Couturier said:

We tell the story of man from his origins to modern day… Visitors will be able to touch some of the objects and satisfy their curiosity.

To learn more about the Musée des Confluences, head over to the firm’s official website.

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Via: The Telegraph

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