Mammoth Museum

The World Mammoth and Permafrost Museum project will be presented at the Russian Pavilion at the 11th Venice Biennale of Architecture, due to be held from September 11 to November 23.

The project was designed by American architect Thomas Leeser, whose company won an international competition to build the museum in Yakutsk in northeastern Siberia, 8468 kilometres (5261 miles) from Moscow.

The unique character of Mr. Leeser's plan proceeds in part from the extreme climate of Siberia. The museum will be built on permafrost, which requires deep-laid foundation to prevent the building from sliding.

To minimize heat transfer, the main building is elevated above the thermally sensitive permafrost on six-metre structural supports.

The 5,500-square-metre museum will be very "eco-friendly" in terms of lighting, with daylight going through the "transparent skin" of the building, electricity partly supplied by solar batteries and wind turbines, and indoor gardens will constantly filter the air and maintain humidity. The architect says the museum "will have a visual resemblance to an animal or a herd of animals". The World Mammoth and Permafrost Museum is designed not only as a place to display the bones of prehistoric creatures but also as a research center, with a laboratory for cloning and DNA study. This will make it one of the top natural science's museums in the world.

The symbolic first stone was laid on July 18. The construction of the World Mammoth Museum is due to be completed by the end of 2009 and will cost an estimated $18 million.

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