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Vulcania
Hans Hollein

July 29, 2002 /

St. Ours-les-Roches, Auvergne, France

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Photo: © Vulcania-Joel Damase

Situated within extinct volcanoes on an altitude of 1,000 m this complex serves to inform about and experience the primeval forces of nature and the creation of our planet.

Largely concealed in the volcanic subsoil of a former lava flow Vulcania blends perfectly into the landscape. Its deepest point is 20 meters under the Earth's surface.

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Photo: © Vulcania-Joel Damase

The cone, a metaphorical volcano, the park's major landmark rising to 28 meters, it is the only element visible from the surrounding countryside. Covered in lava stone to blend in with the surrounding volcanoes, its inner walls have been treated with titanium steam, creating an interesting contrast and a golden color that symbolizes fire from the volcanoes.  The cone, which is a real light well, sheds a gentle, natural light on the underground levels.

Vulcania is a sculpted park hollowed from flows of basaltic lava, there is no borderline with the surrounding countryside.
/Hans Hollein

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Photo: arcspace

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Photo: © Vulcania-Joel Damase

We visited the construction site three month before its inauguration in February 2002. The sun was shining, the place was magic.

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Photo: arcspace

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Photo: arcspace

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Photo: arcspace

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Research and conference facilities, IMAX theaters, greenhouses showing the positive effects of volcanism - fertility - and a restaurant with a view complete the complex situated in a nature park. The site is also used for recreation and hiking in an almost uninhabited landscape. Hollein used Volcanic stone from Auvergne in the construction of the buildings, enhancing the harmony between the park and its environment.

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Photo: © Vulcania-Joel Damase

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Photo: © Vulcania-Joel Damase

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Photo: © Vulcania-Joel Damase

The use of minerals pays tribute to the beauty of the earth, its volcanoes reminding us of the fragility of life. The 35 meter deep crater, the caldera and the lava tunnel are some of the architectural features inspired by the Earth and its mysteries. By giving "an emotional dimension to the site", Hollein has created a scene that pays tribute to the Beauty of the Earth, its volcanoes reminding us of the fragility of life. The 35 meter deep crater, the caldera and the lava tunnel are some of the architectural features inspired by the Earth and its mysteries.

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Photo: arcspace
The Vulcania basalt model at Hollein's office in Vienna.

Giscard d'Estaing, the former President of France, now Governor of the Province of the Auvergne, developed the idea of a European Center of Volcanism and a theme park to foster tourism in the region.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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