Hailed by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful museums in the World, Cracknell created a resilient landscape setting for this iconic building.
The Museum’s distinctive torus sits on a landscaped mound, a key part of the arrival experience that tells mankind’s story of the future. We worked closely with Killa Design on the complex forms and engineering systems so that our innovative and sustainable landscape is in keeping with the overarching goals of the Museum. Due to the nature of the design, landscape and architecture are highly integrated, with the landscape forming the ‘skin’ of the museum buildings located below the ‘mound’, including exhibition spaces, back of house facilities and parking. The illusion created is that of a sculptural building resting lightly on a natural hill which provides a distinct and arresting counterpoint to the intensely urban context. It is designed to allow visitors to enter through and climb up in order to experience an unusual view of the surrounding city.
Standard landscape techniques for soil and planting medium retention could not be used on the steep mound; green wall technology together with a recycled-material geocell system were used to retain and stabilise the slopes, in conjunction with specialised smart irrigation drip-line systems using grey/treated sewage water. All of these elements were contained within an engineered ‘sandwich’ that clothed the mound in a living green carpet.
Most of the plant species used are native or drought/salt tolerant, are perfectly adapted to local environmental conditions and require minimal water/fertilizer to sustain them. The trees produce masses of nectar rich flowers supporting native bees, and seasonal fruits for wild bird populations.