Quai Branly Museum

Quai Branly Museum – Musée du Quai Branly is officially known as Museum of Arts and Civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac vertical garden
Vertical garden

The creation of the architect Jean Nouvel is located round the corner from the Eiffel Tower.

President Jacques Chirac inaugurated it on June 20, 2006 in the presence of many French and foreign personalities from the arts and politics.

It is one of the most popular museums of Paris with more than 130,000 visitors a year!

It includes 40,600m2 of exhibition space distributed over 4 buildings.

The bridge-museum, the main building, is a metal structure on stilts, that houses the exhibitions open to the public.

The other 3 buildings house the library, workshops, offices, the médiatheque and stored exhibits.

Quai Branly Museum Vertical Garden

The museum’s administration is located in the Bâtiment Branly.

Quai Branly Museum facade
Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

The building’s green facade – mur végétal – overlooks the Quai Branly and the Seine and has become the museum’s branding.

The Quai Branly Museum Vertical Garden overlooks the garden created in 2005 by Gilles Clement.

This 18,000m2 garden is planted with a large selection of plants, bushes and trees landscaped with trails, mini-hills and water basins.

Patrick Blanc created the 800m2 Quai Branly Museum Vertical Garden.

Blanc is a botanist and expert on tropical plants, a researcher at the CNRS and professor at the University of Jussieu (Paris VI).

His vertical garden perfectly blends with Gilles Clement’s ground-level garden.

The Quai Branly Museum Vertical Garden was planted throughout the summer of 2004 with approximately 15,000 plants of 150 different species coming from Japan, China, the USA and Central Europe.

Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
Sculpture in the museum’s garden

There are about 20 plants per square meter.

These climbing and crawling plants from humid regions, do not grow in the soil.

Instead, they develop in the foam-rocks, tree trunks or creek pebbles, where they anchor their roots.

Patrick Blanc conceived his green wall by recreating conditions similar to those of the plants’ natural habitat, where the roots draw the necessary minerals and nutrients from rainwater.

Other nutrients such as sugars, proteins etc … are produced by the leaves through photosynthesis.

The technique of vertical culture overcomes weight problems and is suitable for all walls, regardless of their height.

These must of course be prepared beforehand in order to reproduce conditions similar to those of the plants’ original habitat.

Quai Branly Museum facade
Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

Two polyamide felt layers are first placed on a waterproof support made from 10mm thick expanded PVC plates.

The whole assemblage is mounted on a metal frame attached to the structural wall.

The space, created between the supporting wall and this assemblage, acts as an air cushion and creates a perfect insulation.

The capillary and water retention qualities of the polyamide felt help to the development and anchoring of the roots.

Watering is done by a network of pierced hosepipes running down from the top of the wall.

This constant low watering maintains optimum moisture levels and generates constant feed to the plants.

Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

The Quai Branly Museum Vertical Garden is therefore a living wall, a perfect vertical natural ecosystem!

Besides its undeniable aesthetic appearance, it is an excellent refuge for biodiversity and an important element of urban ecology.

It indeed provides nesting sites and food for birds and insects, but also creates a mini-climate improving the quality of the ambient air.

The City of Paris plans to introduce dozens of these vertical green walls across the city in the coming years.

It seems as if ‘vegitecture’ is the urban architecture of tomorrow.

Directions: 7th district
RER: Pont de l’Alma – Musée du Quai Branly
Coordinates: Lat 48.860889 – Long 2.297894

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