The Museum and Scientific Research Center and Laboratory study Siberian mammoths and permafrost, the natural habitat where their remains have been found. LEESER Architecture’s pioneering design creates a shelter for life within extreme surroundings, preserving the permafrost and fostering a comfortable learning, working and socializing environment. The Museum, totaling 70,000 SF, is sited at the foot of the Tchoutchour Mouran, a hill that punctuates the vast flat landscape of western Yakutsk.
Designed as a low-impact, highly insulated, and well-conditioned response to the extreme climate, the Museum is elevated on structural supports 20 feet above the patterned ground. Minimal surface area contact enables as little heat transfer as possible to the thermally sensitive permafrost. Extensive indoor gardens promote a sense of year-round natural life even in the desolate winter months. Cascading at the perimeter of the building’s interior, lush thick mats of moss and lichen, the natural insulators of permafrost ground, grow between a latticework of pathways.
The Museum’s translucent skin is patterned after the logic of self-regulating geometries of the surrounding permafrost. The envelope is constructed as a glazed, super-insulated double wall façade, with an Aerogel lattice network situated between the glazing layers. Natural light is allowed into the interior perimeter zones while Aerogel’s silica pores trap gas modules to strategically retard the transfer of heat energy.