Status: Competition (2008)
Types: Cultural, Mixed use
The program invites a new building typology, an institution evading typical classification and as a result a typical architecture. The interwoven activities that compose the multifunction building provide the opportunity for a new level of interactivity between the core functions and offshoots of an art institution.
There is a democracy of space inherent in the proposal, each function has its own volume and each a shared outdoor area. Public space acts as a social glue between functions and the outdoor spaces provide commerce-free, unprogrammed environments that are usually absent or restricted in art institutions. Given that the brief is unique in its desire to open storage to the users of the institution we propose a full first basement of storage, a functional space that acts as an alternative glue welding the diverse functions together.
The proposal is for a building that will have to forge an identity from disparate parts. Rather than dictating what the relationships between programs should or might be we chose to leave this uncertain. The building is not so much programmed architecture as a dialogue oriented planning process. The street network that weaves through the design, interrupted by public functions such as café and restaurant, establishes a vibrant interstitial space where users are able to come together, programs merge and the kinship between aspects of the institution become tangible.
It is composed of a conglomeration of program blocks arranged with urban density around the existing building. This density allows the proposal to act as a focal point in a suburban environment of scattered housing. The program itself allows the multifunction building to relate to the city on several levels and the design seeks to make this explicit. It is not primarily a cultural institution but rather an environment where art, business and everyday life are able to come together, establishing an energy that will reverberate throughout an area which is already experiencing change.
The textile industry building is fully embedded in the proposal and establishes the scale of the blocks that surround it. The space is not kept apart as a museum piece but rather integrated, so as to allow it to become a vibrant centre through its relationship to the programs around it.
The building respects the Serralves tradition of providing a gathering space where people can come together and share ideas. The garden too is central to the Serralves tradition and we have brought it to the heart of the design. The design is punctuated with gardens and the boundary between indoor and outdoor is blurred by the separation of volumes and through the use of glass and mesh boxes. This transparency creates a visual connection between the functions and pronounces the building as a centre of diverse activity to the surrounding neighbourhood, drawing people to its core and mixing with the activities of the city, hence realising the concept of the project.