In Munich-Nymphenburg, BIOTOPIA is being created as a museum for the central themes of our time - biological and environmental sciences and a future forum for science communication. BIOTOPIA takes up the subjects of Museum Mensch und Natur (museum of man and nature) and the basic idea of the current museum, consistently evolving and reinventing it to meet the educational and societal needs of the present day.
The BIOTOPIA founding team is already working to bring together researchers, scientific institutions and the general public. With exhibitions "Made in Bavaria", BIOTOPIA wants to make the Bavarian research landscape as internationally visible as the natural history treasures of Bavaria. Curiosity, empathy and action are the guiding principles of the mission & vision.
BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern will be a state-owned, public museum of the Free State of Bavaria. The founding director is Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman.
The BIOTOPIA building is being constructed on the north wing of Nymphenburg Palace, directly next to the existing Museum Mensch und Natur - and in the immediate vicinity of the Botanical Garden. The new museum building sensitively replaces a (non-protected) functional building from the 1960s, which was planned at the time as a university institute for the LMU. The new building project was developed in close cooperation with the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments and the Bavarian Administration of State Palaces, Gardens and Lakes to ensure careful integration into the historic palace ensemble.
In this way, a unique nature-culture quarter is being created in close cooperation with the Botanical Garden and the Nymphenburg Palace and Park.
BIOTOPIA serves all of Bavaria. It makes Bavarian research and natural history treasures visible. In traveling exhibitions "Made in Bavaria" Bavaria becomes internationally visible. Exhibitions conceived in Munich can also travel to the region and vice versa. BIOTOPIA will bring together museums, educational and research institutions throughout Bavaria. The goal is an educational network that promotes natural science, the environment and natural history with innovative approaches in all regions of Bavaria. BIOTOPIA will also strengthen and expand an existing network with regional museums in Bamberg, Bayreuth, Nördlingen and Eichstätt in the future.
For example, joint communication and advertising measures are planned, as well as cooperation projects that bring together educational institutions and scientific facilities. In terms of content, BIOTOPIA accompanies the transformation of our society and guides citizens to commit themselves to the change toward a sustainable, respectful approach to nature.
In total, the new museum in Munich will cover almost 13,000 square meters, of which the exhibition areas will make up about half. This opens up a wealth of possibilities for exhibition design, open visitor labs, education and knowledge transfer - from collaborations with schools to science symposia. Despite the significant expansion of space, nearly tripling the size of the Museum Mensch und Natur, the building's exterior edges remain the same. In order to achieve a building depth suitable for museum use, the southern facade is shifted towards the inner courtyard, which is not perceptible from the outside.
The architectural design for BIOTOPIA is by Volker Staab, one of the most experienced architects in the field of "building in a historical context" - he has also planned, for example, the Richard Wagner Museum in Bayreuth and the Albertinum in Dresden. The BIOTOPIA new building picks up on the height, colorfulness, simplicity and structure of the historical architecture and fits into the specifications of the symmetrical castle complex. The result is a coherent, modern and functional museum building that takes into account the future significance of BIOTOPIA as a museum of the 21st century of international importance. A first impression of the BIOTOPIA building can be found on the BIOTOPIA website.
The approximately 7,000 square feet of event and exhibition space inside the new museum building is organized thematically. In four open visitor labs, families, school classes and all visitors can participate in research and experiments closely related to the exhibitions. A children's museum will specifically address the needs and interests of younger children up to about age 6. There will also be spaces for education & outreach, a lecture hall, a restaurant/café and a large foyer, as well as an outdoor experimentation and play area.
Sustainability and energy efficiency are central themes in building planning for BIOTOPIA. A groundwater well and heat recovery systems, for example, will ensure that the new building will exceed the requirements of the newly enacted Building Energy Law (GEG 2020).
BIOTOPIA will display numerous exciting objects as well as models, natural history exhibits and works of art. In addition, the museum offers visitors many opportunities to become active themselves - for example, at hands-on stations, in workshops, open hands-on labs, events and programs. Click here for the exhibition concept.
An important goal of BIOTOPIA is to bring the public into contact with the rich collection and research of the Bavarian State Natural Science Collections (SNSB) as well as a large number of leading research institutions in Munich and Bavaria. For example, the SNSB's collections include some 31 million inventory items, including highlights such as the world's largest butterfly collection and the Munich specimen of Archaeopteryx lithographica. These are strongly related to BIOTOPA topics such as biodiversity or biospheric change. BIOTOPIA will include a section on "Bavaria through the ages," depicting 500 million years of Bavarian ecosystems in five minutes, and an exhibition on SNSB research.
BIOTOPIA is already present in public: The BIOTOPIA Lab, an interim space in the Botanical Garden, is open according to the Corona specifications.
Schools and families and all curious people are invited to experiment, marvel and get to know BIOTOPIA there. The rich online BIOTOPIA Lab@Home program is already bringing hands-on science to the home.
In addition, BIOTOPIA actively engages in dialogue with museum guests of the future through Citizen Science projects, annual festivals and a mobile program in Bavaria, bringing them closer to the vision and themes of the emerging museum.
There is no final opening date yet. Once the Projektunterlage (PU) Bau is approved, there will be a construction schedule. Currently, the construction phase of the museum is planned for 2023-2028, which is five years. An additional year is planned for the installation of the exhibition and the air conditioning of the rooms.
Since the new museum fully incorporates the rooms of the Museum Mensch und Natur and the old and new buildings are closely interlinked, it is not possible to keep the museum open during the construction phase. The building must be emptied and renovated from the ground up. The final date for closure depends on pending permitting and planning progress. However, the museum will remain open until at least the end of 2022.
At the time, the Museum Mensch und Natur was housed as a provisional facility in the former rooms of the Zoological State Collection at Nymphenburg Palace. Since these rooms were too small from the start and only suitable to a limited extent for modern museum use, the desire to expand the museum and create an adequate spatial and technical infrastructure has existed since the opening in 1990.
The new building will not only provide new exhibition space and museum educational workrooms, but also premises for catering and the museum workshops that meet today's standards.
BIOTOPIA ties in directly with the successful educational outreach programs of the Museum Mensch und Natur, so the spirit of the popular museum will live on. Of course, particularly popular exhibits, including Bruno the Bear, will also be on display at BIOTOPIA. In addition, exhibits will be included in road shows and pop-up exhibitions - including during the construction phase - in the BIOTOPIA Lab and, where appropriate, in collaboration with Bavarian regional museums. And even after the physical building closes, interested parties will be able to explore the Museum Mensch und Natur virtually on Google Arts and Culture. In the future, the Museum Mensch und Natur building will house the museum workshops, offices, and catering, following a renovation in line with historic preservation requirements.
The total cost estimate for the 2021 design (PU building) is around 200 million euros. This also includes various partial measures, the difficult demolition of the existing building and the renovation and repair of the roofs and facades of the building housing the Museum Mensch und Natur. In addition, the estimate takes into account the increase in index costs as well as a risk buffer of 15% of the indexed construction costs, as required by the regulations for public construction projects (RL Bau 2020).
The costs are borne by the Free State of Bavaria together with a privately established funding group. The BIOTOPIA Förderkreis has already been able to collect donations amounting to almost 10 million euros. The aim is for around 10 percent of the total project costs to be financed in this way.
The Förderkreis was founded in 2012 to attract supporters in business, science, society and politics for the expansion of the Museum Mensch und Natur. Since then, the Förderkreis has raised significant private donations for the project. The chairperson is Dr. Auguste von Bayern, who is herself a biologist and conducts research on the intelligence of birds. Here you can find out how you too can support BIOTOPIA:
BIOTOPIA not only makes the outstanding Bavarian research known nationally and internationally, but also shows largely unknown treasures of the State Natural Science Collections of Bavaria (SNSB), which have unique collections, e.g. the world's largest butterfly collection with 25 million inventory units.
In the long term, Biotopia is to become a new research museum together with the SNSB and join the Leibniz Association, combining the SNSB's research and collection strengths with Biotopia as a dynamic platform for science communication.
Menzinger Str. 67
80638 München, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-411
Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
© BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern