Kanva then focused on the journey itself, designing new passages aimed at transforming the existing linear path of discovery into a more dynamic experience, where visitors take charge of their own journeys through the Biodome’s five ecosystems, housing more than 250,000 animals and 500 plant species.
Conceptually aiming for a more immersive experience, Kanva focused its attention on soliciting senses, relegating sight to the end of the line behind sound, smell, and touch.
From the calming lobby hall, the undulating living skin funnels visitors into a 10-metre tunnel leading to the central core, where their exploration of five ecosystems, including Tropical Rainforest, Laurentian Maple Forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Sub-Antarctic Islands, and Labrador Coast, begins.
The entry tunnel features a very subtle floor incline, intended to slow the pace of movement through a compressed white passage, and to void the mind for fresh sensory input.
Once visitors reach the central core, smaller slits in the living skin, called eco-transits, lead them towards the ecosystem entrances.
As automatic doors at the end of the eco-transit open into the ecosystem, it remains visually obstructed by a curtain of beads.
By the time visitors pass through the beads, they have been exposed to the climate, smells, and sounds of the natural habitat before seeing anything.
At the entrance of the Subpolar Regions, Kanva designed a new ice tunnel that acclimatises visitors during the transition, while the sounds and smells of puffins and penguins ahead provide additional sensory stimulation.
Vertically, Kanva added an entire new level above the ecosystems, accessible via walkways and enabling visitors to move through the foliage of majestic trees of both the Tropical Rainforest and Gulf of St. Lawrence ecosystems.
The walkways lead to a new mezzanine, offering aerial views of the various ecosystems and the pure white nucleus.
The new mezzanine also serves as a technical floor, with interactive educational exhibits and insight into the elaborate machinery required to preserve the facility’s delicate ecosystems.