Metz Museum by Shigeru Ban

Matisse, Picasso, Miró, Pollock and Brancusi have already moved in and can be admired in their own new home. Shigeru Ban says that in designing the idiosyncratic new construction, he was inspired by the “architecture” of traditional Chinese hats woven from rice straw – albeit on a considerably distorted floor plan. The offices, with their large, smooth windows, were accommodated in the angular transoms of Centre Pompidou in Metz, and appear to have been pushed into the hat. These white cubes were highlighted by the flatness of the Alucobond® elements in pure white. The new 10,000- square metre centre for the arts in north eastern France does not exhibit any collection of its own but makes use of works stored at the Paris centre, which, with more than 65,000 works, owns the largest collection of contemporary and modern art in Europe.

For the City of Metz, the new art centre means so much that it can also be described as the “new Metz cathedral”.


The new Metz Cathedral by Shigeru Ban

Matisse, Picasso, Miró, Pollock and Brancusi have already moved into their new home and can be admired there. Shigeru Ban says that in designing the idiosyncratic new construction, he was inspired by the “architecture” of traditional Chinese hats woven from rice straw – albeit on a considerably distorted floor plan. Situated in the angular volume of Centre Pompidou in Metz, the offices with their large, smooth windows appear to have been pushed into the hat. The flatness of the pure white ALUCOBOND® elements emphasises these white cuboid forms. The new 10,000- square metre centre for the arts in north eastern France does not exhibit any collection of its own but displays works stored at the Paris centre, which, with more than 65,000 works, owns the largest collection of contemporary and modern art in Europe. For the City of Metz, the new art centre means so much that it can also be described as the “new Metz cathedral”.

Project: Centre Pompidou, Metz, France
Architects: Shigeru Ban, Jean de Gastines, Paris, France
Fabricator: TIM Composites, Cholet, France
Construction: Riveted / Screwed
Year of Construction: 2010
Product: ALUCOBOND® Pure White 10
Photos: HUFTON + CROW/VIEW & Roland Halbe I Artur Images

Etnographic Center by AMVC Arquitectos Associados

SITE: A house of wealthy farmers located in the historic core of the village Várzea de Calde, extreme north of Viseu’s district. The house fits into a very interesting group, which comprises a medieval winepress, an oven, wine cellar and a surrounding outdoor space.

PROGRAM | INTERVENTION CONCEPT: The proposal to convert the space into an Ethnographic museum is based on the need to preserve and revitalize a century-old village, fighting urban decharacterization, depopulation and the consequent disappearance of its cultural identity.

Taking into account the factors of local identity, specifically the ethnographic characteristics, is a visible tendency the ruralization of the economic life of the village, which was made over the centuries and preserved in a modus Vivendi that has remained almost unchanged until today, result of a certain distance from urban centers. These aspects are consolidated by customs and collective memory, intending now to gather these elements in a space where they can be seen.

The design intent goes in the way of restructuring these spaces, maintaining, where possible, the memories they bring.
The proposed concept involves patrimonial and cultural revalorization, focusing on the Ethnographic Museum (developed in the main house) an estate composed by agricultural tools, as well as traditional crafts. The idea is based on the re-creation of living and working environments of the population, organizing the space in a contextualized way, always with a precise theme. It is intended to recover the partially ruined medieval mill, which maintains its granite walls in a considerable state of preservation.

In the space that was once the cellar, completely ruined, it is proposed a new construction, more contemporary, consentaneous with the pre-existence. For the adjacent green space, it will serve as support of the different buildings, acting as a unifying bond of the proposal.

Address: Várzea de Calde, Viseu, Portugal
Project: 2004-2005
Construction: 2006-2007
Area: 756 m²

Narona Archaeological Museum by Radionica Arhitekture

In the 1990`s, a team from Archaeological museum in Split has discovered ruins of an ancient church Augustus in Vid. New museum has been built above these ruins in order to protect them from weather and to offer a comfortable tour to visitors. The interior is determined by the remains and the scale of the excavated Roman statues and artefacts. Contrary to the exterior with note-less look of a Roman church built using modern materials, which is surrounded by ordinary houses.

Combination of reinforced concrete and exposed steel has been used for its construction. The facades are equipped with narrow plastic panels that allow a diffuse light to penetrate the interior. Above all, the building is designated for everyday life, to serve visitors not only for a visit but gatherings as well. Its roof connects two levels of public space, using a system of publicly accessible flat surfaces and ramps.


Cinco de Mayo Memorial by TEN Arquitectos

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in Mexico, when the Mexicans defeated the larger and better equipped French army, the TEN Arquitectos introduced a symbolic memorial – a public space. The undulating square is situated in the Los Fuertes area of Puebla, almost on the top of the hill that overlooks the whole town. The project makes use of the existing topography and creates a wavy surface with bent wooden board, under which a cafe, playroom, and a gallery are hidden. 150 trees were planted all over the square, representing the historic anniversary. Light pillars scattered around embody military units. The memorial square has become a sought out place to meet, and enjoy local culture.


Easter Sculpture Museum by Exit Architects

An older building on a winding streetway of Hellín in Albacete province, Spain, was transformed by the native EXIT architects office into the Easter Sculpture Museum. The allotment is located in a southern part of Plaza de la Iglesia square with an historical church. What has originally been the Count’s residency is now completely renovated, except for the main façade with its trademark painting. This was reconstructed and translated into language of the new gallery.

The repaired façade is accompanied by a transparent glass volume which follows the scale of surrounding objects. The southern part of the gallery adapts its volume to the downward sloping terrain. Local stone was used for the construction of front face, thus integrating it into the character of the town. The exhibition spaces are lined with white concrete surfaces enriched with wooden platforms upon which the sculptures will rest.


Enzo Ferrari Museum by Future Systems

In 2004 a London based studio Future Systems, founded by the Czech architect Jan Kaplický, won a design contest for the new museum in Moden in the northern Italy. The museum hosts all the exhibition areas in the reconstructed house of the famous racer and entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari and a gallery in a neighbouring new building with an original design by Kaplický. The gallery is a unique combination of the latest construction and energy saving technologies and a futuristic appearance, resembling a legendary racecar.

The vents on the yellow aluminium roof are similar to a huge engine hood of a car. Along an attraction for the tourists they allow a natural air ventilation and bring light into the gallery. Walls and the floor of the gallery blend together into a single surface. A stretched semipermeable membrane covers the roof and distributes the light evenly conjuring up an image of a car interior. On the ground floor a cafe and a bookshop hides behind a bent glass facade, followed by an open exhibition area with a slightly upward sloping ramp capable of showcasing up to 21 vehicles.


The Barnes Foundation by Tod Williams & Billie Tsien

A collection of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern art by Albert Barnes is moving from Pennsylvania to a new building created by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in Philadelphia. The layout of the new building – the “Gallery in a Garden” resembles the original one. The plan was however enriched by new program functions such as classrooms or the garden itself. To secure the best lighting for the art pieces, the exhibition spaces were designed in the spirit of minimalism. Details such as brighter finish on the wood, simple floor patterns or altered shaping of the ceiling contribute to the overall luminous effect of the gallery area.

At the same time, these spaces create a natural circulation with a garden that defines the concept of a “gallery in a garden” or alternatively a “garden in a gallery”. The complex aims for the LEED Platinum certificate, awarded by the United States Green Building Council. The requirements should be sufficiently met due to the usage of specific materials, recycled products, FSC certified wood along features such as energy efficiency, solar energy utilisation and rainwater retention implemented the new building.

Yusuhara wooden bridge museum by Kengo Kuma associates

This project comes from the hands of the Tokyo/Paris based practice Kengo Kuma + Associates and is located in Yusuhara, a town in the Kochi prefecture, Japan. Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum embodies a fusion of traditional Japanese design and contemporary architectonic thinking and strives to harmonically coexist with the surrounding natural landscape. Alternating arrangement of interwoven wooden beams creates a construction which floats in the air, supported by a single central pillar.

Glass shafts with steel framework stand on each end of the bridge and due to their transparency blend in with the background vegetation. A triangular form of the museum is inspired by the shapes of a nearby hill and an adjacent building. The overlapping layers of wood are transcribed into the ceiling indoors where the same inverted triangle form is also apparent.


Steilneset memorial by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois

On the shores of a strait that separates the Vardoya island and Norway stands a construction, composed of a forest of wooden supports that marches on the rough rocky ground – the Steilneset. Authors of the design are the architect Peter Zumthor and the artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). Steilneset stands as a memorial for a dark era of the 17th century, when the witchhunts afflicted almost whole Europe, including this small fishing community. The memorial lies near the centre of Vardø, Norway and marks the area which was believed to be a sabbat point of witches.

The form of the structure is inspired by the vast wooden racks once used to dry the daily catch of fish. The structure is 125 metres long and consists of wooden frames with sheets of canvas (light beige from the outside but dark from the inside) stretched over them. Visitors can get inside this long corridor through a ramp. Main source of light inside the pavillion are 91 small openings each representing a past victim of a witchhunt. The openings are integrated with a lightbulb and a silk fabric with an engraved accusation, confession and fate of those brought before the court. Nearby the pavillion rests a black glass cube with Louise Bourgeois’ piece of work “The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved”.


Museum of Vine and Wine by AH Asociados

A project by Spanish atelier AH Asociados deals with a renovation of a historical building in a winegrowing town Olite in Navarra province, Spain. The interior of the building was turned into a large space where the traditional wine of Navarra meets with modernity of viticulture. The face of the building, visible from the street, retains its historic look with its stone walls and wooden gutters.

Facade directed towards the inner courtyard, however is made of steel. In the old part of the building, visitors can find the entrance hall with historical reminders of the past. The new part is flexibly devoted to different functions, according to current needs. It is separated from the inner courtyard, where exhibitions and wine samplings often take place, by both transparent and opaque panels.


Janus – Extension of the city museum

The buildings of Rapperswil-Jona Stadtmuseum complex have been around for more than 700 years. The small castle complex from the end of the 13th century, nestled in a picturesque area above the lake Zurich, consists of a guardtower, a residential area and adjacent farm buildings along the city walls. The museum building has recently undergone a large scale reconstruction, introducing a design by the Swiss studio mlzd. As the winners of a 2007 competition, mlzd in cooperation with the municipality helped to restore the national significance of the museum. The aim of the project was to transcend the city boundaries and to reach out to new culture-lovers and present the museum and the city as an attractive tourist destination.

The new building was carefully integrated into the existing organism of the old town. The facade and the roof are designed to not cover the existing windows and doors of the original buildings. The north side of the building reflects the character of urban landscape, therefore it remained unchanged. In the winding streets and alleys, the new structure tries not to interrupt the characteristic image of this beautiful area by its presence. Simultaneously, its majestic bronze facade made of TECU Bond, creating the main access point of the modern complex, contributes to a specific new tone of the area.


Arche Nebra by Holzer Kobler Architekturen

Arche Nebra is an archeologic centre built as a result of a competition from before 2007. After discovering a 3,600 year old relic – a sky disc made of bronze and inlaid with gold, a need for a new archeologic centre arose. The disc is engraved with a collection of constellations and a symbol of solar barge, representing the daily movement of the sun. Swiss based architects of the Holzer Kobler Architekturen practice commissioned the winning project.

The centre is situated in a picturesque countryside of Wangen, in the Saxony-Anhalt region in Germany. The form of the centre was inspired by the solar barge. The body of the building is covered with yellow anodized aluminium and it appears to levitate above the glass-encased entrance level with a café. The 60-metre-long abstracted ship offers spaces for two exhibition areas and a planetarium.


Museum der Kulturen by Herzog & de Meuron

Architects of the Swiss office Herzog & de Meuron renovated a historical museum in Basel, Switzerland, where one of the most important ethnographic collections of Europe is being currently preserved. The renovation process resulted in creation of a new roofing over the museum, which resembles a crown of scales due to its irregular folds clad in blackish green ceramic tiles. Hexagonal tiles, some of them bent and protruded, refract the natural light even when cloudy and create a playful detail. The tiled roof rests on a steel framework and creates a large column-free space suitable for the gallery underneath. The architects expanded window openings and removed one storey in the current building and thus created an additional double-height exhibition area. Access to the the museum was relocated to the rear, where the courtyard is sloped down towards the museum – leading its visitors inside.


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum extension by Renzo Piano

The new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum from 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. The new object with an area of 6500 m² is situated south of the original building, along the Fenway street and offers spaces for concerts, exhibitions, education and additional visitor services. The glass facade of the new wing creates a welcoming entrance and allows for views of the historical buildings and gardens. The new building is characterized by four volumes clad in pre-patinated copper panels. The interior is an interesting space – a double height cube with a gallery for special exhibitions. Concert hall in the size of 550 m² is the largest object of this new wing and contains 300 seats arranged in three levels around the central stage. The hall was designed in cooperation with an acoustics specialist Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics.


Ordos museum by MAD architects

The building of Ordos Museum rises above the apexes of sand dunes of the Gobi desert as if it nested on the top of the highest one. Inside of the building hides a network of natural interiors engulfed in sunlight of Asia. The result is a „timeless architecture in the modern city of ruins“. The Inner Mongolia was merely an extension of the majestic Gobi desert six years ago. Today, the main topic of discussion in the society is a conflict of traditional and the innovative modern direction in which the Chinese civilisation is heading. Architects are requested to develop the country and land but to mind the delicate topic of sustaining the minorities and to develop their future potential.

In fulfilling the 2005 master plan for development of the city, the local bureaucrats commisioned the Chinese atelier MAD Architects with designing the Ordos museum. It was supposed to be the dominant of a newly founded city. They enveloped the thought into a timeless, abstract, blob-like form with the intent of strengthening Chinese tradition in the future evolution. The exterior is made of metal tiles resistant to the spiking winter and frequent sandstorms and implies the idea of a protective shield guarding the precious culture and history of the town from the unpredictable growth of the city. The „floating“ space has become popular among the local populace as a gathering place, a playing field or simply a space to relax in a pleasant environment.


The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum by Werner Tscholl

A road, formerly used mainly by migrating wild animals, connects the Pesseiertal and Ötztal valleys. These valleys, surrounded by a natural border created by the foot of the Timmelsjoch mountain chain, are connected by an ancient and rare simmilarity. Architectonic sculptures, situated on several touristic stops  along the road, introduce the beautiful landscape panoramas, its history, cultural background as well as local community and the economy of the region.

After visiting these structures and learning about the place, the tourists acquire so called „Timmelsjoch Experience“ – a regional mountain travel know-how. A part of this experience is Passo del Rombo – a museum by Werner Tscholl Architects. Located on the border of Germany (North Tyrole) and Italy the Pass Museum points out towards the South Tyrole side with its boulder-like structure, highlighting the international character of the Timmelsjoch Experience. Its interior resembles an ice cave, which honors the pioneers of High Alpine Road and their advancements.

Mimesis Museum by Alvaro Siza

Mimesis museum by a well-known Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza is located in South Korea and reminds of a cat in many ways. The initial inspiration was a story about an emperor who loved cats so much that he called upon the most famous painter to draw him a cat, he got to wait seven years to see the drawing, but that is already another story. An interesting fact is that architect Alvaro Siza has never seen a Korean cat because he has never been to Korea. The ground-floor of Mimesis is a cat, curled up and straighten up at the same time that stretches and yawns.

It is all there. The author took various cat postures as an inspiration and wanted to find the most elegant solution for the building. Draft design, models, drawings and adjustments, new models, presentations and so on. That was the chain of events that preceeded the construction. The project was unique and drew attention at the first sight. In the basement, there are archives, service area and other possible exhibition space. Ground floor features space for arriving and distribution, space for temporary exhibitions and a coffee place with a restaurant. Everything else can be found in landings topped off by a large exhibition space in the highest one. Light is always light and gentle so that it does not bother. Both the artificial and sun lights are considered crucial.