The building of Musee du Quai Branly and its Gardens
This museum was only opened in 2006 and has a very unique and modern design and the largest roof terrace in Paris, along with gardens containing ponds, meandering paths and over 70,000 plants.
About the Building of the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris
It was back in 1999 that the French architect Jean Nouvel won the competition for the construction of a new building along the banks of the River Seine to house a new museum, which would encompass collections from the Musee de l'Homme and the Musee des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie.
The site chosen was close to the Eiffel Tower along with numerous other museums and tourist attractions and covering an area of over 30,000 metres squared the construction work clearing the site, etc first started in the January of 2001.
One of the main concepts for the building was that it should be innovative, yet inconspicuous, which is what Jean Nouvel conceived in his original designs, who also designed the Institut du Monde Arabe.
The building is like a long footbridge that is perched on concrete piles and steel columns and has a curved shape, that allows parts of the garden to grow underneath, so it appears to be coming out of the greenery, and as the garden matures, these colums will be hidden from view.
You will discover a small entrance to the main building, which houses this Paris museum and its galleries that cover an area of over 4,500 metres squared, and as you enter you follow a winding ramp, which has been nicknamed the River, that takes you to the main gallery that is over 200 metres in length.
And on the north side of the building you can see different structures like boxes that protrude out from the building in different colours and these are home to different galleries and exhibits, plus there are mezzanines that look down into the main gallery.
There is also a terrace, which is in fact approximately 3,000 metres squared in itself, and home to the gourmet restaurant in Paris called Les Ombres, and this is the largest roof terrace in the city that provides fabulous panoramic views to the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine.
But as well as the main building there are others that contain offices, a library and research centre, a lecture room, workshops and an archive centre with around 700,000 different photographs, recordings, etc. And the ceilings along with the facade of the Musee du Quai Branly building where the library is housed, were designed by eight artists with Australian Aborigine origins.
Plus another feature you can admire is what is referred to as the green wall, or living wall, and this was designed to be a facade that has numerous different species of plants seemingly growing out of it and this is located on the side that faces the River Seine.
About the Gardens of the Musee du Quai Branly
Now the gardens are an integral part of the whole design concept for the Musee Quai Branly as a place for nature and culture, which were designed by the landscape architect Gilles Clement.
And although they were originally meant to be only half the size of what you can see today, Jean Nouvel decided to increase their size, and they now cover an area of approximately 18,000 metres squared.
The gardens are actually sheltered from traffic noise by a high glass fence and even though you can discover lots of formal French gardens in Paris, the idea was to provide an area in complete contrast to these, so the design of this would incorporate smaller garden areas within the main garden.
Also, because of the construction of the Musee du Quai Branly building being elevated, the garden goes underneath the structure and this is where you can discover lots of different undergrowth, plus there are meandering paths, small hills, ponds and different little tracks paved with stones, not forgetting the vast amount of different variets of shrubs, trees and flowers.
In fact, almost 170 trees were planted, which included oaks, maples, magnolias and cherry trees and in total there are around 72,000 plus plants that make up the beautiful gardens, yet one fabulous feature we quickly mentioned earlier is that of the living wall.
The living wall was design by the botanist Patrick Blanc and covers an area of around 800 metres squared on the facades of the museum and sometimes known as the Green Wall or Wall of Vegetation, there are 150 different species of plants that came from places such as Japan, China, the Americas and parts of Europe, with approximately 15,000 plants in total make up this unusual feature.
Yet there is also an open air theatre, or amphitheatre located within the garden as well, where concerts and shows are held during the warmer months, and within these public gardens you can also find a water point for filling up your water bottles.
So as you can no doubt tell, the building and the garden of the Musee du Quai Branly are great to discover and have become another very popular tourist attraction in Paris, not forgetting the impressive museum itself.