From 2000 to 2002, Avesta Group intervened in the realisation of a great European park dedicated to volcanism.
The project was the brainchild of French volcanologist, Maurice Krafft. Krafft and his work had a significant impact on the former President of France, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who pushed for the construction of the park while he was president of the regional council of Auvergne.
The architect behind the design of the park was Pritzker-Prize-winning, Austrian Hans Hollein.
Three-quarters of the foundations are sunk underground, which aided in the rehabilitation of the land. Visitors approach a “metaphorical Volcano” by descending a ramp towards a cone-shaped structure clad in dark stone and lined on the inside with a gold metal.
The design incorporates research and conference facilities, large IMAX theatres, greenhouses to highlight the positive effects of vulcanism - fertility - and a restaurant with views out to the whole nature park. The site is secluded and is also utilised for recreation and hiking.
One of the attractions at Vulcania is the 4-D film. The Awakening of the Auvergne Giants. In 2008, Vulcania opened four new attractions, including the Volcanbul, a GPS-driven robot which gives tours of the area around Vulcania. To quote from the Vulcania website “VolcanBul Eco-friendly and innovating the VolcanBul is an electric vehicle guided by GPS.”
It was explicitly implemented to improve the rate of revisits and encourage visitors to spend an entire day exploring the different areas, rather than half-day as is usually the case for museums.
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