biotopia - the open museum

With the exhibition, BIOTOPIA has set itself the goal of awakening the natural curiosity of visitors, generating empathy for life and the environment, and encouraging them to take the initiative themselves. The open exhibition architecture makes an important contribution to this by encouraging self-determined exploration of the museum's contents.


BIOTOPIA is designed as an open place. The concept of openness applies not only to the museum's entrance situation, but also to its interior organization. From the foyer, four sweeping stair sculptures open the view to the adjacent levels and intuitively lead the public to the various offerings of the house. It is up to the visitors themselves to decide how they want to explore the museum. On the first floor, in addition to circulation, event and communal areas such as the reception, museum store or café, there will be a dining studio, an exhibition area and a "discovery library". Basement level 1 will offer an immersive space for immersion in diverse ecosystems.

Building plan

The building plan shows the location of the different visitor laboratories in the east wing of the building as well as the seven thematic areas of the main exhibition.

In the east wing of the building on the upper floor are additional visitor laboratories: the Bioart and Design Studio, the Neuro Lab, and the BioLab. The labs - as an extension of the main exhibition - have an important function, allowing hands-on exploration of the various topics. The upper floor houses the main exhibition with seven thematic areas as well as the children's museum in the west wing. The second basement level provides space for special exhibitions. The exhibition design, which works with the idea of the cell and the membrane, defines the content themes within the open architecture of the new museum building. Flexibly playable surfaces and the alternation of open and framing spatial areas create a dynamic exhibition design that invites and arouses curiosity.

Bruno the bear

Bruno the bear, so far on display at the Museum Mensch und Natur, is also to find a central place at BIOTOPIA. The brown bear became famous in 2006 because he was the first free-living bear to roam German territory again after more than 170 years, which unfortunately became his fatal fate. BIOTOPIA also sheds light on such human-animal collisions, among other things.

The various thematic areas of the main exhibition can be experienced with a variety of natural history, cultural, artistic and design objects, interactive stations and projections. Among other things, the " Build and Shape" area invites visitors to interactively try out different construction methods and landscape designs in order to illustrate changes in the urban ecosystem as effects on biodiversity.

Build and Shape

As a museum for the life and environmental sciences, BIOTOPIA aims to make the connections and relationships between humans and other living things visible and tangible. The thematic area " Build and Shape" takes visitors on a journey into the ingenious building practices of diverse creatures. Equipped with a BIOTOPIA magnifying glass, for example, the impressive termite mound with mushroom cultivation can be explored - from different perspectives.

The children's museum

The Children's Museum whets the appetite for learning through play: it invites children aged 0-6 and their companions to slip into the roles of animals from different Bavarian habitats.

Move and Migrate

Life means movement. Animals, plants, microorganisms and humans are in constant motion, their movement currents on land, in the air and in the water stretch across our planet like a net. The exhibition area " Move and Migrate" is dedicated to movement currents, modes of locomotion, their evolutionary development and reciprocal influences.

Ground Floor

On the ground floor, visitors can learn more about local and global ecosystems. The area "Bavaria through the ages" (in the center of the picture), for example, provides insights into the flora and fauna of Bavaria over 500 million years.

A coral reef aquarium with a capacity of approximately 45,000 liters is planned for the first basement level. It is part of the immersive exhibition area "Ecosystems through the ages", which deals with time and its effects on past, present and future ecosystems. With the help of cameras and VR glasses, the biodiverse world of a coral reef - one of the most diverse but endangered ecosystems in the world - can be explored from the perspective of its inhabitants. The insight into this complex marine world is intended to show not only the extent to which humans influence life on earth, but also the measures that can be taken to ensure the survival of the reefs.


The diverse experimental areas

Four laboratories with a total area of about 618 square meters extend the main exhibition and allow a deeper, practical exploration of BIOTOPIA's topics. In the east wing of the new building, the Bioart and Design Studio, the BioLab and the Neuro Lab are located on the 1st floor; the Eating Studio (to the west) is located on the ground floor, as its program is linked to the vegetable and herb garden outside.


The four focal points of the hands-on labs complement each other, so that schoolchildren, individual museum visitors and researchers can experience a lively program all year round. The spectrum ranges from workshops for school classes, continuing education for teachers, residency programs for experts from the fields of science, art and design, and the culinary arts. The goal is for the latter to develop new works and projects on site and present them to an interested audience. In addition, spontaneous hands-on activities are planned, whereby visitors can try out various activities themselves, such as DNA extractions, microscopy, virtual dissection or "ask the scientists" consultation hours. Thus, the visitor labs and exhibitions complement each other synergistically and invite to discover life.

The Neuro Lab:

What happens in the head when we sleep, dream or perceive? In the Neuro Lab, workshops, experiments and school class programs explore exciting questions of brain research and cognition. In addition, a residency program for neuroscientists is planned. In cooperation with the Munich Center for Neuroscience of the LMU (MCN), the Neuro Lab as a science forum makes current neuroscience and cognitive science research tangible.

The Eating Studio:

Honey spinning, fermentation processes, food waste composting and much more - nutrition, health and sustainability development are the major themes of the Eating Studio. As an experimental area for public demonstrations, it deepens the " Eat and Drink" part of the exhibition. Since the Eating Studio is connected to the outdoor area, homegrown food can be processed directly in the teaching kitchen.

The Bio Lab:

In the Bio Lab, visitors of all ages can conduct their own experiments that, for example, awaken curiosity about the invisible world of microorganisms.

The Bioart and Design Studio:

In the Bioart and Design Studio, visitors can experiment with various biological materials and make their own things from algae, mushrooms or silk.

Image credits

Exhibition visualizations, plans and building cross-section © BIOTOPIA/Event Communications

Hands-on labs © BIOTOPIA/Konstantin Landuris Studio

More about the BIOTOPIA project:



Naturkundemuseum Bayern
Botanisches Institut
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80638 München, Germany


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