Saturday, September 29, 2012

Montreal Biosphere, Canada

The Biosphère is a museum in Montreal dedicated to the environment. It is located at Parc Jean-Drapeau, on Île Sainte-Hélène in the former pavilion of the United States for the 1967 World Fair Expo 67. 

Expo 67 

The architect of the geodesic dome was Richard Buckminster Fuller. The building originally formed an enclosed structure of steel and acrylic cells, 76 metres (250 ft) in diameter and 62 metres (200 ft) high. The dome is a Class 1, Frequency 16, Icosahedron. A complex system of shades was used to control the internal temperature. The architects for the interior exhibition space were from Golden Metak Productions. Visitors had access to four large theme platforms divided into seven levels. The building included a 37-metre-long escalator, the longest ever built at the time. The Minirail monorail ran through the pavilion. 

1976 fire 

In the afternoon of the 20 May 1976, during structural renovations,a fire burned away the building's transparent acrylic bubble, but the steel truss structure remained. The site remained closed until 1990.   

Biosphère Environment Museum 

In August, 1990, Environment Canada purchased the site for $17.5 million to turn it into an interactive museum showcasing and exploring the water ecosystems of the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence River regions. The museum, inaugurated in 1995 as a water museum, is a set of enclosed buildings designed by Éric Gauthier, inside the original steel skeleton. The Biosphère changed its name in 2007 to become an environment museum. It offers interactive activities and presents exhibitions about the major environmental issues related to water, climate change, air, ecotechnologies, and sustainable development. 

Appearances in movies 

The structure is used prominently in the original Battlestar Galactica television series episode, "Greetings from Earth". Scenes for Robert Altman's post-apocalyptic ice age film Quintet were shot on site as well.

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