Vendée History Museum: in complete harmony with nature

Thanks to its green roof structure, its shape, and the natural colours of the facades, the Vendée History Museum completely blends into its surrounding landscape. ArcelorMittal supplied perforated trapezoidal steel sheets as a base for the green roof and the aesthetic cladding solution Hairplan® 300 in a natural bronze shade.

Detailed information

The museum, embedded in the natural beauty of the Pays de la Loire, between Nantes and Roche-sur-Yon, offers a total floor area of 5400 m2, mostly dedicated to exhibition space, but it also includes an extensive access hall, reception, a shop, a restaurant, and a terrace. Furthermore, private spaces for the archives, delivery, and administration were developed so as to remain separate from the daily circulation of the museum.

The two main exhibition rooms of 2500 m2 respond to the technical and operating constraints imposed on television studios. They are conjoined in a W-shape plan and clad with technical duckboard set aside for temporary stage equipment. One room opens onto the landscape and river, on the south side, and the other is situated along the access ramp.

The museum is accessed from the north-east side and its perimeter is situated by a hillside, near the Boulogne river. The magnitude of the building can be appreciated clearly from the south bank. When approaching, the visitor will be surprised by the arrangement and dimensions of the building.

It was the client's wish to minimise the impact on the landscape as much as possible. A large roof of 8000 m2, covering the museum, complements the shapes of the terrain.

Structure and roofing

The regular structures of the main halls consist of open spaces 20 m wide and with an uninterrupted height of 6 metres up to the service ceiling.

The main structure of the roof is composed of 7 three-dimensional steel lattices of varying width, spaced at 10.5-metre intervals. The secondary structure is made up of latticed tubular purlins, spaced at two-metre intervals. The wind bracing is provided by means of bracing members in the roof plan. As a result of the geometry, the structure is composed of 30 triangles positioned on different planes. The bolted steel framework weighs a total of 500 tonnes.

The roof cladding is composed of steel panels perforated on the underside (supplied by ArcelorMittal Construction), a 10-cm foamglass-type complex (heat insulation) in a sandwich between two layers of tarmac, and finally a top vegetation layer of 15 cm (earth and topsoil). The slopes are greater than 20% and the thickness of the vegetation varies from 30 to 60 cm.

The facades, protected by the large roof overhang, are partly glazed and partly clad with steel siding panels. These panels - Hairplan® 300 produced and supplied by ArcelorMittal Construction - are coated in a natural bronze shade to blend in with the rest of the building. The straight lines they create in the facade creates a contrast to the triangular roof shape.

As a result of the volume of this structure and the green roofs, the building looks like a new meadow in the countryside.

Project information

  • Lucs-sur-Boulogne Pays de la Loire
  • France
  • Architect:
    PLAN01: Michel Joyau
    Landscaping: Paysage & Lumière
  • 2006
  • Client:
    Conseil Général de la Vendée
  • Engineering Firm:
  • Contractor:
    Delta fluides and Girard Hervouet
  • Photographer:
    PLAN01 and S.Chalmeau