1. What is it?
The Jules Verne Foundation for Submarines and Deep-sea Robotics is a novel combination of a Jules Verne themed exhibition space, research centre and a robotic submarine manufacturing centre situated in Le Havre, Rrance. Best described as “amphibious” architecture, this unconventional waterfront project brings spatial elements from the underwater world to our terrestrial surface.
‘Jules Verne Foundation for Submarines and Deep-sea Robotics’ by Sebastian Kaus
University of applied Arts Vienna, Austria
Visitors are able to experience first-hand the connection between manufacturing, research and marine conservation in a highly functional building with an exotic, aquatic atmosphere.
2. How is it working?
The design of the foundation creates a civic building that captures the excitement of exploring unknown worlds. The overall architectural composition combines large, highly-articulated volumes with a monolithic plinth that interacts with the natural tide. By aggregating, intersecting and blending these volumes with the plinth, the building absorbs a variety of complex programmatic functions while maintaining a high degree of openness and connectivity between key spaces. Large skylights and apertures illuminate the volumes to create a dramatic interior atmosphere with moments of visual communication to the city.
Located at the waterfront of the le havre harbour, the building occupies an existing pier, facing the city centre. Creating a series of vignettes through city axes the building becomes a extension of the city towards the harbor and creates a architectural symbol for amphibious space. The foundation consists of volumes hosting the main program and a plinth as an extension of the exhibition which interacts with the natural tied and choreographs the effect of natural forces in an aquatic garden like exhibition area.
The interaction of three different systems generating space: plinth, volumes, void. The main spaces and there atmosphere are inspired by Jules Verne’s main work: 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, A Trip to the Moon, A Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in 80 Days. Capturing the atmospere of these adventures and the combination of plinth, water, volumes and void creates a large variety of atmospheres within and around the building leading the visitor on an imaginary journey through exotic worlds. By moving through this constantly shifting amphibious environment and the volumes with different possible aqua levels, the visitor is able to experience the excitement of exploring unknown worlds and has the possibility to learn about the sophisticated technologies (for example the deep sea robots) that make these exploration possible.
4. Structure / energy design.
The main structure consists of a concrete shell system, collecting the loads and transports them to the ground. Spatial rips supporting the creases when volumes intersect. The floor plates are hanging between the outer concrete shell and a steel space frame tension structure which is hanging in the centre of the void. Glass is as well supported by a curved steel space frame structure
The building is using the natural forces to generate energy. Solar energy is collected and stored in the massive concrete parts of the building and is used for heating and warm water supply. Electric power is generated by a tidal power plant using the natural water flow.
Creating a architectural symbol for amphibious space and generating space supported by natural forces the building is not only an extension of the city toward the harbour. It is a place capturing the excitement of the unknown and gives the opportunity of experiencing these adventures in an exotic architecture.