Guinée*Potin Architectes gave a historic home in France a thatched exterior to create the Beautour Biodiversity Museum. The center revitalizes the estate of biologist Georges Durand to foster a thriving local ecosystem, and it continues his lifelong survey of flora and fauna.
The historic Durand mansion was used as a starting point for the project, which has been converted to house research labs and event space. The new building is home to permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, as well as a welcoming area and meeting place for visitors.
In contrast to the mansion, the new building was designed to reflect the traditional architecture of the region. Local reeds were used to create a skin of thatching along the entire length and roof of the building, echoing tradition, while giving a visual contrast to the mansion. The thatched building curves in an organic-inspired form, and seems to almost embrace the Durand mansion at its meeting points.
In order to be as harmonious with the landscape as possible, the thatched building is raised on pillars that allows the flora and fauna growing below to flourish uninterrupted. A shallow pond rich with life flows just below one end of the building, fostering a home for frogs and herons.
The Beautour Center has transformed an abandoned site into a celebration of biodiversity and sound environmental practices such as composting and rainwater harvesting.