The project articulates two main ideas. One is to use the city, an endless, public and daily resource when it comes to architecture, as a part of the exhibition.
The site is surrounded by great example of buildings from different era, by framing views towards them, they become the primary pieces of each exhibition rooms.
The other is to explore possibilities that “a room” creates. It only needs a few elements, four vertical planes (walls), two horizontal ones (roof and slab) and an opening, but they generate an infinite series of spaces.
The four rooms composing each level have similar dimensions, by articulating them differently one enters and exits them in a different position, providing each time a unique experience.
It further condition the vertical distribution. The stairs’ continuity generates several circulation paths towards the rooms contributing to the journey the building offers.
The structure combines concrete and steel elements.
On each level, a peripheral concrete wall and three concrete shear walls provide sufficient stiffness to take care of the horizontal and most of the vertical forces. To achieve column-less exhibition rooms, additional steel columns and steel beams are necessary. They support concrete hollow slabs spanning up to 18 m and further participate to transfer vertical forces to the foundation.
It also gives flexibility to adjust to the different programmatic needs (i.e. open space in the 3rd and 4th floor for study rooms, archives and library).
The facade is composed of a concrete wall, a layer of insulation and a brick layer. Similarly to “the room,” the brick is a simple element which can be manipulated in many ways to ornate a building. Two patterns are implemented the facade, one serves to express the void between each level, the other marks their physical delimitation.
A darker brick color is implemented on the lower level to echoes the hue of the direct surroundings.