THE PROJECT IDEA
The idea of the Europe-Far East Gallery – an exhibition annex to the Japanese Art and Technology Manggha Museum in Kraków, was to broaden the scope of the Manggha Museum’s intercultural artistic and exhibition activities – from Polish-Japanese to European-Far Eastern. The new exhibition space was intended for presentations of European and Southeast Asia art. The Gallery has two exhibition rooms which are classic white cube spaces, as neutral in expression as possible, to allow for the display of various forms of mostly modern art.
THE FORM OF THE BUILDING
The facility respects and highlights of the main Manggha Museum building’s uniqueness (arch Arata Isozaki, collaboration Ingarden & Ewý, 1994) and creates a reasonably neutral architectural background that complements and orders the surroundings. Thus the Manggha Museum building remains the dominant element in formal and functional terms. The Gallery’s shell has therefore been removed as far as possible from the approach to the Manggha’s main entrance and situated so as to prevent it from blocking the view of the existing building. The height has been aligned to the scale of the undulating roof of the Manggha. A separate entrance zone has been designed for the Gallery, with its own stairs, ramp and a terrace, which can be used for exhibition and artistic activities outside the building. The situation of the terrace augments the public space in front of the Manggha and creates an additional urban interior, delimited by the façades of the two buildings. The parapet line of the first floor is a continuation of the edge of the Manggha Museum’s northern wall, and the height of the roof – the parapet of the upper storey – is below the level of the upper part of the skylights in the Museum building. The minimalistic Gallery building is finished with simple glass and sandstone surfaces, the façades are composed in correspondence with the analogous forms of the existing outdoor architectural elements in front of the main Museum – the ramps and the stairs. The diagonal upper part of the south elevation corresponds to the diagonal lines of the balustrades on the ramps in front of the Museum building. Calm, simple and reserved in expression, the architectural form of the new structure provides a discreet background for the main building, thus foregrounding its characteristic architectural expression.
THE FUNCTIONAL PROGRAMME
The Gallery building has the following functions:
Exhibition function: This is the primary function of the building; the exhibition spaces include two large rooms located on the first and second floors, similar in size – about 264 square metres each. They are regular in shape, and maximum height obtainable at this location – between 3.85 and 4.25 metres – which allows for the flexible display of various forms of traditional and modern art, multimedia installations, etc. The storage spaces supporting the exhibition function are situated underground and on the ground floor. Furthermore, the basements house a workshop and exhibition preparation space, as well as technical rooms.
Foyer: Such functions as entrance, foyer, information and cloakrooms are located on the first floor, which is the main storey of the building. The foyer is extended visually and functionally by the external terrace.
Administration and office functions, complete with a small conference room and employee rooms, are located on the second floor.
Ingarden & Ewý – architecture atelier established by Kraków architects Krzysztof Ingarden and Jacek Ewý. With more than 25 years of experience, Ingarden & Ewý is one of Poland’s most recognised, award-winning architectural practices committed to innovative and sustainable design. Ingarden & Ewý has established its reputation for public and commercial projects that interact with their historical and urban context. The office places particular emphasis on the use of natural materials, light, energy saving technologies in their projects. The functionality – meeting the specific needs of the users – is also key, as are all aspects of sustainability. The IEA team creates innovative architectural expression through a combination of advanced technology with traditional materials, art and craftsmanship. The practice has a distinguished track record as designers of high-profile cultural buildings, such as museums, galleries, libraries, conference centres, and theatre halls.