The design Museum should forge a new kind of iconography—one based on innovative building performance, not signature form—to command a significant place within the global and local landscape of museum goers. The new Museum should act as a strategic infrastructure, establishing itself as a worthy counterpart by radically addressing two cardinal challenges facing contemporary museum design.
Challenge 1 : The new Museum requires a flexible circulation sequence capable of individually or simultaneously presenting the museum’s own collections, self-produced exhibitions, and traveling exhibitions. The classic museum procession is a lobby that begins and ends a loop of dark galleries that make one forget about the outside landscape in which the building is set. This compulsory circulation causes curatorial and operational problems for the institutions it organizes: they must use all their galleries at once and cannot easily subdivide their space. Additionally, the classic museum’s service areas are typically ancillary, making loading or striking shows difficult. The project rise to this challenge by placing its logistic area—storage, conservation—underground, in between the two main galleries, minimizes art handling distances. The decision allows to freely align at the ground level all public areas (bar, pedagogical workshop) that need to extend outdoor and let the main exhibition space float in suspended white masses wrapped by an outdoor 'design promenade.'
The promenade is made possible by a metallic scaffolding that design the perimeter of the museum area. The public promenade can be used in a variety of fashions: as educational space, as sponsors lounge, or public outdoor display room/showcase of design art work. The promenade provides moments of playfulness and visual excitement with views to the park and city, and can spaces adjacent to the galleries for the display of less sensitive artworks. The Museum is therefore conceived as a public, permeable infrastructure that interacts with its surrounding. It works, simultaneously, as a show case for the history of design and as new gathering place for the local and the international community visiting Dessau. The architecture is reduced to a fence for its community.
Challenge 2: In recent years, the issue of program in architecture has either been celebrated as 'scientific' form-giving or dismissed as a ridiculous excuse for self-indulgent formal acrobatics. Unlike the situation in the 1990s, when program prevailed, the last decade has deemed architectural form more important than program, to the point that, as a number of important public work recently built demonstrate, the building envelope seems to be the only design concern at the expense of everything else. Within this context, the series of park pavilions enclosed by an 'infrastructural fence' within the Park, feature a feigned indifference to both rhetoric by demonstrating the possibility of an alternative, fundamentally anonymous, notion of contemporary authorship, one that underscores the full potential of architectural form as a silent infrastructure for its users. Thanks to its infrastructural, spatial presence, a new synthesis is achieved (seems possible, seeks to be explored). Nothing else is needed.
Neither driven by hyperbolic flexibility nor program, the park pavilions shy away from the form versus content dichotomy, by suggesting that this dialect does not need to be resolved but, rather, merely experienced as a kinetic experience of physical thresholds, like the one established by a new metallic fence acting as a perceivable, yet open 'zaun' (old German for town) for the space of the museum within the park. This new threshold marks an uncertain limes between the suspended masses of the museum proper, the educational areas, the recreational and working areas suggesting that the emotions and surprises felt by passing thresholds are what makes architecture interesting.
c-b-a stands for context of bare architecture, which means that we aim to find the bare life of architectural form, namely a form stripped of the prevailing rhetoric of the day. Since its inception c-b-a has been involved with the design of a number of building types, ranging from public library to museum, school complexes and stadium, with the majority of the executed work revolving around the production of office buildings and housing. As of late, c-b-a has been increasingly involved in a number of activities engaging with the city of Berlin. These include the design a number of contemporary housing complexes in Berlin (in partnership with the leading Italian company in the construction of wood technology) that acknowledge the new social and living conditions (like the increasing atomization of the traditional family structure) or the a new model of living/working units that may provide a provisional solution to the on-going refugee emergency.
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