Carlo and Christian Toson’s concept was among the finalists in the international competition KMV for the developement of the region of Mineralnye Vodi, Caucasus.
The project presented is a museum of natural history in the central park of Essentuki, that would become a catalyzer of the city life and an example of the process of modernization and reconfiguration of the region.
below the description of the project, as reported in the competition:
The development of a territory starts from the valorization of its resources: nature, culture, traditions. This asset must be firstly studied and discovered, and then shared with the people.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a new naturalistic museum that will become an engine of valorization and research of the territory.
The museum will describe the beautiful nature of Caucasus, its species, geology and water. It should work not only as exposition for visitors, but also for education of students and research and preservation of the territory.
Such museum, as in many other cities, may become a main attraction, bringing to the city thousands of visitors per year, and offering something new to wellness tourists.
The new museum should be also a proof-example of modern ecological building, symbol of the renewal of Mineralnye Vody region, with all the most up-to date technologies: water usage, energy efficiency, use of solar and geothermic energy, natural materials and waste.
The location is in the beautiful Kurortny Park, in the very centre of Essentuki, on place of an old ruined banya. The museum symbolizes Caucasus nature and completes the area in connection with the existing fountain and Rotonda, symbolizing respectively water and culture – the two main resources of Mineralnie Vody region. For this reason the shape of the museum is inspired by a special endemic specie of butterfly, the Parnassius Nordmanni, famous for its rarity. The volume follows the shape of two folded wings, extruded from the butterfly-roof to the ground, resolving all the functional spaces in a unique, soft shape. The interior is characterized by clean curved lines, that remind life cycles.
The architectural principles are of flexibility and response to contemporary methods of exposition in museums.