Hans Hollein, one of the leading figures of Postmodern architecture, has designed a unique amusement park that takes visitors on a journey to the center of the Earth. The Vulcania Center Européen du Volcanisme features a miniature artificial volcano, a geyser-like installation and an underground vibrating cinema that educate visitors on the positive effects of volcanism on our planet.
The Center is located in France’s Auvergne region, which is the largest volcanic area in Europe. Its construction started in 1994 and was completed in 2002, making it one of the latest examples of Postmodernist architecture. The structure is marked by some of the most recognizable Postmodernist tropes and channels Hollein’s distinctive style based on historical references and witticisms. The architect also cited Dante’s inferno and Jules Verne’s work as some of the influences for the design.
A simple conic volume, representing a volcano, dominates the complex. It is clad in slabs of solidified lava and unwraps to reveal an interior filled with eruption simulators, roller coasters and gallery spaces that allow visitors to experience the primeval forces of nature. The descent into the earth starts with a long ramp leading down towards a metaphorical Volcano, surrounded by walls lined with golden metal animated by light. Greenhouses and various research and conference facilities aim to show the positive effects of volcanism through fertility.
Lead photo via Wikipedia