An extraordinary view into the natural world

Munich’s former Museum of Man and Nature is a bulwark of natural history in Germany. This longstanding historical institution it is the primary institute for natural science in Bavaria. Its esteemed status is reflected in its setting – the Nymphenburg Palace, the former summer home of the Bavarian monarchy. Our brief was to catapult the institution into the 21st century, delivering a reinvented museum within a 300-year-old, Baroque palace.

The new Biotopia museum will be an almost avant-garde take on a long-established museum. Juxtaposed against its regal setting, this progressive, future-focused and sustainable museum promises to be a natural history museum like no other.


Blurring the boundaries between visitor and researcher

Biotopia turns the traditional museum experience on its head. It neither expects, nor allows, you to pass through as a passive admirer of artefacts. Our design pulls you into the research process, blurring the boundaries between visitor and researcher to make you an active agent of change. Exposed laboratories invite you to take part in real-time experiments. Object displays are fused with activity areas. Live animal exhibits, nature trails and a 10 million-strong butterfly collection create an unexpected visitor journey full of twists and turns.


A sustainable museum for the 21st century

Sustainability is threaded through our design. Glazed views along the façade open the museum up to the palace grounds, bringing the outside in. Interpretation reverses the human gaze and gives a voice to the natural world. Humans, not objects, are put under the spotlight, challenging us to examine our impact on nature.

The multisensory experience draws you closer to the natural world than ever before. Familiar spaces, from cities to gardens, are re-examined to reveal hidden topographies – soundwaves, animal scents, the extreme end of the light spectrum. Our relationships with other life forms are felt as much as learnt.

The museum aims to break open a dialogue between nature and humans, art and science. Visitors will leave the experience as citizen-scientists, equipped with a new appreciation for the natural world.




Nulty Lighting


Staab Architects