The gorgeous wood-wrapped Alésia Museum visitor’s center in Burgundy, France was designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects. The cylindrical volume is clad with a herringbone patterned double skin and a green roof. The museum marks the spot of a historic battle between the Romans, led by Julius Caesar, and the Gauls under Vercingetorix, over 2,000 years ago.
Tschumi’s design has transformed the hilltop site into a suitable tribute to the historic Battle of Alésia. The slatted wooden second skin was created to pay tribute the wooden structures the Romans built during the battle’s era. The wooden skin also acts as a brise-soleil, filtering light as it enters the glass volume and casting patterned shadows throughout the visitor center.
The museum’s roof holds an elevated park that gives visitors a sprawling view of the battle site. Grass, shrubs, and trees grow on the roof, helping to filter rain water, provide shade to visitors, and insulate the building. The roof garden also helps the building blend flawlessly into the battlefield terrain. The museum will focus on elements and narratives of the events of the battle.
Nearby, a second stone building will be built to accompany the wooden museum. Located a kilometer away, the stone building will hold archaeological pieces excavated from the site. This building is set to be completed in 2015. Together, the buildings will give visitors a new perspective on how the land appeared 2,000 years ago during the time of Julius Caesar.