Opened in June 2011, The Cité de l’Océan et du Surf in Biarritz, France has made international buzz for its artistic design and mission.
Architects Steven Holl and Solange Fabião tackled this museum project, creating a final design that is reminiscent of waves and the sloping beach. Biarritz and the Bay of Biscay are said to be the birthplace of surfing, and this museum aims to raise awareness of oceanic issues.
The design of the museum takes on a “under the sky, under the sea” dynamic, with the exterior of the building acting as a gathering place for visitors under the sky, and the interior of the museum providing a space for guests to delve into life under the sea.
Exhibitions include IMAX films projected onto curved ramps, a reconstructed grounded ship, and exhibits detailing marine biology and the evolution of the ocean. Enormous “glass rocks” denote the restaurant and the surfer’s kiosk in the museum, connecting the inside space to the outside environment.
This museum is truly unique, and worth visiting simply for the exquisite views of the Bay and the architecture of the building.
Photo source: Steven Holl Architects