The Ark

Documentary about the new visitor's pavilion in the Botanical Garden of Meise

This is a short story. Short stories are concentrated reflections which give space to the questions, dialogues and encounters influencing our work.

The documentary “ARK” tells the story of the new visitor pavilion in the Botanical Garden of Meise. ¬†Amid a 7,100-square-meter greenhouse, this wooden construction houses the living plant collection with species from around the world. Amid a sea of glass, this mysterious volume seems to be floating. Consisting of a multipurpose room and a deck that serves as a terrace, it connects the public to the collection in its controlled climate. The iconic wooden hyperbolic parabolic dome provides an authentic spatial experience. Driven by a commitment to biodiversity and circularity, leftover material was reused and cut into shingles to give the exterior its intriguing appearance.

Through interviews with the client, designer/architect, contractor, engineer and botanist, the documentary “ARK” provides insight into the process, design choices made and conversations underlying the project.


Direction: Bertrand Lafontaine, Michael Lombaerts & Steffen Verpoorten

Camera & sound: Michael Lombaerts & Jens Vanysacker, Arthur De Keyser

diting: Michael Lombaerts & Steffen Verpoorten

Produced by: Agentschap Plantentuin Meise, Archipelago Architects, Studieburo Mouton, NU architectuuratelier, Sweco, Bouwbedrijf Van Poppel, De Keyser Wood industry NV