Budapest - HU
Museums have new, strong features, such as social spaces, which have increased by 350% over the past years. Such a growth necessarily affects the relationship and the hierarchy between social spaces and exhibition spaces; moreover, museums have increased their openness to the public offering shops, restaurants and services through which they aim to connect more broadly with the urban context.
In a way, museums are nowadays the expression of a thematic field, with which users can interact at different depths, starting from the street and progressively venturing into the matter and into the building itself.
Several series of concrete boxes with a tuff stone cladding are arranged into superimposed layers. The concrete creates a supporting structure and allows the building to protrude consistently, while the porousness of the tuff stone gives the building a different appearance depending on the landscape the building is facing, in a sort of physical or chemical reaction with its context.
The north-facing side will be a mirror for the park, and will be suggestively cladded with moss. This cladding will act as an ecological buffer, a biological element of transition between the park and the new building; due to this material's properties, the surface will progressively cover with moss, becoming the vertical edge of the park and generating similar microclimatic and organic conditions.
The shape of the new museum will radically change the way sound is reflected; unless specific materials are used, the noise from traffic would skyrocket, threatening the comfort for the existing buildings. Tuff stone was also preferred for its sound-absorbing properties, which will improve the acoustic conditions.
On the South side, the stone establishes a relationship with the urban environment. The size of the boxes increases proportionally to the height of the building; the distance between the boxes reduces accordingly to this variation, following a classical pattern of facade proportioning and composition.
Some of the boxes act as a counterpoint to the repeated rhythm of the building, apparently freeing it from this fixed scheme.
The spaces that separate the boxes – depending on the distance between the latter – are given different values and purposes.
The foundation of the exhibition lies in the concept of the black box: neutral containers in which the object displayed is the absolute protagonist, and stands out from the context thanks to the spotlights.
This is indeed the most common method of exhibition; however, the rhythmic sequence of the lightboxes can be considered an important variation on the theme.
The space in between the boxes is not their mere negative; depending on its size, it can serve as a decompression, as a distribution, or it can accommodate the pieces that need natural light.
Light boxes also anticipate a black box's content through signs and information plaques.
This way, the nature of the exhibition is made very clear, but it is nevertheless extremely flexible.
The box layout concept is extended to the laboratories, where the mere functional response is interrupted.
When the boxes are unevenly piled, ampler voids are formed; the resulting “complementary spaces” – both on the plan and on the section – house lifts, stairs, fire escapes; they allow the natural zenithal light into the building, generating suggestive cracks of light that establish a visual relationship between the different functions. Therefore, the activities taking place in the labs are visible from the exhibition floor, and viceversa; the building shows its vitality by disclosing its many, different and interrelated activities.