Espace pour la vie and Ville de Montréal are happy to unveil the remarkable metamorphosis of the Montréal Insectarium and to announce its grand opening on April 13. In its new configuration, the museum invites young and old alike to see the world from the perspective of insects and to immerse themselves in their fascinating universe in order to change the way they look at these living beings.
A completely renewed museological approach
The Insectarium is the first museum in North America where it will be possible to observe so many species of insects—living (some of them roaming freely) and naturalized—in a single location. It invites future visitors to enjoy extraordinary encounters with insects. The museum team has completely rethought its approach in order to offer an immersive and educational experience aimed at transforming the relationship that humans have with insects and to trigger in them an appreciation of insects, which is consciously referred to as "entomophilia"* at the Insectarium.
* The definition of the word entomophilia refers to "the mode of pollination of plants through insects". In the context of the new Insectarium, its architecture and museology inspired by biophilia, we give this term a new meaning to express the idea of entomophilia in the sense of love, respect and appreciation of insects.
A multi-sensory experience
Through an intimate, multi-sensory one-way circuit, humans are invited to visit insects and gradually rethink their relationship with these amazing living beings. The approach is meant to be progressive, and it is only after becoming familiar with certain aspects of the insect world that visitors will find themselves in the presence of living insects.
As you enter the Alcoves —inspired by the habitat of insects—, you see the world as if you were an insect yourself. All your senses are on the alert: vibrations in the floor allow you to perceive sounds like insects; projected ultraviolet effects mimic an insect’s vision, while the configuration of the space encourages you to move around like an insect, either by slipping through cracks or dangling on vertical rods.
After this first eye-opening experience, it’s time for a tête-à-tête with insects in an intimate atmosphere, where they can be observed, even contemplated, at leisure in immersive vivariums. Then, after beholding the collection of naturalized insects presented like nowhere else inside the majestic Dome, a setting that praises their beauty and diversity, you emerge from this underground environment in a space that looks like a giant greenhouse bathed in natural light, the Great Vivarium. Among the hundred species that you will get to see, including butterflies flying freely all year round, some have never been presented before!
This unique project is the result of a bold architectural gesture where the museology and the visitor experience informed the architecture, and not the other way around. To rethink the museum, the architects drew inspiration from the various insect habitats—nests, chambers, galleries, vegetation and soil. The design of the new building also applies the principles of biophilia to ensure a harmonious integration with the immediate environment of the Jardin botanique, and to minimize its visual impact for the good of nature.
The architectural concept for the Métamorphose project, which received an award of excellence from Canadian Architect magazine in December 2018, was the result of an international architectural competition won by the consortium of five architecture and engineering firms: Kuehn Malvezzi, Pelletier De Fontenay, Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes, Dupras Ledoux and NCK. The new Insectarium is aiming for LEED Gold certification, and its Great Vivarium becomes the first curtain-wall greenhouse to receive this recognition in Quebec.
A mobile application to find out more
As a complement to the visit, the Espace pour la vie mobile application (Insectarium module) provides a wealth of information on the naturalized and living species on display at the museum. The application is very easy to use and literally follows visitors as they make their way along, providing quick access to more information. Tablets will be available in the various rooms of the museum for those who do not have smart devices and who would like to use the app.
"My dearest wish is that the metamorphosis of the Insectarium will also bring about a metamorphosis in the public's relationship with insects," said Maxim Larrivée, director of the Insectarium. "Still too often ignored and underestimated, insects are essential to the balance of our ecosystems. A profound change in the role and importance of insects in our societies is needed.”
“The transformation of the Insectarium is another important milestone in our development at Espace pour la vie," said Julie Jodoin, interim director of Espace pour la vie. “The mission of the new Insectarium, in line with the Montréal 2030 vision, gives us the opportunity to scale up the movement for the preservation of biodiversity.”
« L’approche innovante du nouvel Insectarium est unique en Amérique du Nord et en fera une destination incontournable de la métropole. L’immersion dans le milieu des insectes est une des meilleures façons d’illustrer le rôle majeur qu’ils jouent dans la protection de la biodiversité et de nos écosystèmes. Nous sommes très fiers de proposer une nouvelle expérience stimulante, qui contribuera à conscientiser la population d’aujourd’hui et les générations futures », a déclaré la mairesse de Montréal et présidente de la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Valérie Plante.
The new Montréal Insectarium will offer a renewed visitor experience and will now be priced the same as all other Espace pour la vie museums. The new Espace pour la vie Passport is a great way to get unlimited access to all five Espace pour la vie museums all year round. Full details here
THE INSECTARIUM AT A GLANCE
A unique museum in North America
- An architectural concept inspired by the habitat of insects
- An surface area 40% greater than in the old museum
- A majestic Dome with some 3,000 naturalized insect specimens presented like nowhere else in the world
- A Great Vivarium where you can
- observe, all year round, some 175 species of living insects, including butterflies
- see more than 3,000 plants of 150 different varieties
- admire up to 80 species of butterflies at a time (160 different species in total during a single year), flying freely all year round, in an environment of plants designed to encourage their activity and longevity while making them more visible;
- Award of excellence - Canadian Architect magazine in December 2018Canadian Architect
- Total surface area: 13,154 sq m2
- LEED Gold certification for the building
- First LEED Gold-certified curtain-wall greenhouse in Quebec
- Geothermal heating system, 75% autonomous (24 wells)
Consortium of architects and engineers:
- Kuehn Malvezzi (Berlin, Germany)
- Pelletier De Fontenay (Montréal)
- Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes (Montréal)
- Dupras Ledoux (Montréal) NCK (Montréal)
Cost of the Métamorphose project:
- $38.4 million, before taxes
- This amount includes construction costs, related work, architecture competition, insect relocation, museology, professional fees, development and project management.
To experience the new Insectarium,
you must book a set time for your visit when you buy your tickets.
Book early to get your desired time.
Tickets and Espace pour la vie Passport for sale here.
Espace pour la vie
Espace pour la vie is made up of five major attractions: the Biodôme, the Biosphère, the Insectarium, the Jardin botanique and the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. These prestigious municipal institutions form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, encouraging all of us to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.
Espace pour la vie Foundation
Espace pour la vie Foundation contributes financially to the scientific, educational, cultural, social and artistic development of Espace pour la vie and its five prestigious institutions: the Biodôme, the Biosphère, the Jardin botanique, the Insectarium and the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. The Foundation’s values are grounded in the respect for biodiversity and the appreciation of science and art as a means of bringing people closer to nature.- 30 -