2007 / Maximiliano Fuksas
World Mammoth and Permafrost Museum Yakutsk


Projet team:
Yeol Park, Justina Padvarskaite, Alexandra Machado,Giuseppe Giordano,Nicola Cabiati,Frauke Stenz


The World Mammoth Museum presents many challenges to environmental and building services design. External design conditions are extreme, ranging between -60°C in winter and +40°C in summer. Internal design conditions must be controlled very tightly in the museum display areas, conservation and preservation areas and the research laboratories. Office and public spaces are not so tightly controlled and therefore must be well separated and “sealed” off from the more tightly controlled areas. There are opportunities to link together energy systems within the building to create an “energy loop” in order to reduce the primary fuel (gas, electricity and water) and so create a sustainably designed conditioning system.

The building envelope must be optimised to meet the demands of the external environment. Daylight needs to be maximised while internal solar gains and heat losses should be minimised.

World Mammoth Museum

The bottom of the concept is an ancient Iceberg. A large liquefied figure, stepped by a mammoth. The site, a branch of Ethno Park in Yakutia, is surrounded by water, leaving the suggestion that is floating on water or thin ice. The museum grows up on a multi-level program, that extends indoors intermittently between blocks and voids, not only horizontally but also vertically. Visitors can access into the museum between the thresholds of the facade. The Main hall is illuminated by natural light that arrives through the caves on the façade; generating a fixture of reflections taking advantage of the ordinary settings of the location.
At the ground level there are many different agendas, not only for public but also private: such as for amenity, for education, maintaining area intended for administration and services. The Museum is located at the base of the Tchoutchour Mouran, a hill that scatters the enormous flat scenery of western Yakutsk. The building’s box-like volume, the most resourceful and uncomplicated of shapes, get together with the   hill to follow the growing geography. Naturally patterned by the effects of shifting permafrost cycles, cells planted with native grasses, mosses and trees have been reintroduced to the landscape, reflecting the existing scenery.

Designed as a low-impact, highly insulated, and well-conditioned response to the extreme climate. Minimal surface area contact enables as little heat transfer as possible to the thermally sensitive permafrost. The Museum’s translucent skin is patterned by the logic of the self-regulating geometries of the permafrost. The envelope is constructed of a super-insulated double wall glazed façade with an Aerogel lattice network situated between the glazing layers. Natural light is provided to the interior perimeter zones while Aerogel’s silica pores trap gas modules to slow down the transfer of heat energy.

The building has been designed so the worlds of the museum and scientific research can coexist without contamination. Visitors are afforded views of restricted levels—the mechanical and research lab levels—by escalators that take them in a climate controlled tube through the building up to the museum level.