Thursday, 19 August 2010

Musee du Quai Branly

The anthropology museum at Quai Branly, not far from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, marries architecture by Jean Nouvel and landscape by Gilles Clement. There is a striking juxtaposition of verdant foliage with earth-toned polygonal architecture. The contrast is in terms of form, colour, and also nature vs technology/engineering. The planting evidences ideas from two of Clement's 'manifestos'. His 'jardin planetaire', or 'world garden', brings plants from different biomes - here maple from north America, oak from Europe, Miscanthus from Asia, for instance - while still aiming for a naturalistic succession as the trees develop.  This is the 'jardin en mouvement' or 'moving garden'.
'A sanctuary without walls' was Nouvel's aim for the garden. Once inside the the north glass boundary, traffic noise nearly disappears.  The south boundary 'rushes' - resin coated steel - give a transparent but entirely secure enclosure.  Inside you could be in an untamed estuary with reeds, a swale and species rambler roses.
Clement idealises a child's response to nature.  There are moments here he takes you on a country adventure.  The whole - building and garden - makes no attempt to unify with 19th century Paris around.  The genius loci (sense of place) that has been created is strong and enchanting.

No comments:

Post a Comment