More open to a wider public, Contemporary Art Museums are becoming hybrids programs and transforming the way that people approach to art and becoming real places to be. The key issue for New Taipei City Museum of Art is how to gather people and art while integrating the landscape into the museum and the museum into the park? In the “Art as lifestyle strategy” the project attributes equal importance to people than to exhibit spaces and art collections. Seeking a new equilibrium in the museum’s spatial structure, the project considers the people circulation as a raw matter to define and construct the museum experience. The architecture proposes to live the museum as a dynamic experience where people shall have an important role in shaping the museum’s image.
Architecture as invitation: The spiral Garden Museum
The proposal aims to be an architectural open invitation to enjoy art as lifestyle. Conceived as a natural extension of the park’s pathways, a spiral ramp climbs embracing the museum façade from the main level up to the top of the building. It shapes a progressive wider spiral garden which invites visitors and tourist to discover art and landscape in a new way. This gentle green way evolves very slowly, (the ramp reaches a maximal inclination of 4%) being an easily and pleasant way to climb up to the museum. Arrived to the top of the circuit, visitors can enjoy the roof garden, an outdoor art terrace in a magnificent natural frame.
This continuous spiral walkway provides a living dynamism to whole building. The network of ramps and terraces, exhibition spaces and resting areas, shall display tourists climbing and descending ramps seeing each other, people socializing in informal ways and spaces, visitors entering and exiting exhibitions and art meetings, etc. By its inviting architecture, The Spiral Garden Museum experience, shall engage both, the art specialist and the common citizen, the occasional tourist and the art amateur, a wider public of all ages and backgrounds, embodying the image of a newly emerging “art as lifestyle” identity.
The proposal seeks to define a new positioning for the museum and for the exhibition space taking into consideration to reduce its impact in the landscape of the park. The strategy consists in assembling the program of two museums and the public services in a unique vertical building, keeping a permanent living “vertebral column” walkway. As the dominant feature, the ascending spiral garden organizes vertically the exhibition and spatial structure of the museum, providing both internal and external access to the sequences of cultural and artistic programs, commercial and resting spaces, bringing people back to art. It shall display a magnificent experience where visitors seem to be floating over the museum exhibitions, an exiting sightseeing trip open over the park and the museum, integrating both into the landscape, and inviting visitors and citizens to rediscover art between the park and the sky.
A system of vertical mobile and pliable lamellas provides the necessary flexibility to the exhibits rooms, which could be freely organized for any given exhibition activity, allowing a large variety of museum installations and contemporary exhibition layouts. With this method, the different galleries were organized in separate rooms to create a maximum of curatorial freedom but keeping the possibility to be used together to host one exhibition, or separated in arrangements of two or more rooms.
This new typological positioning shall ensure having an accessible and non sacred-like exhibition space, it shall not overshadow the artworks displayed within, but it will be able to change and allow a wider range of permeability and brightness. On the center of the exhibition level a series of enclosed exhibition spaces allows visitors to focus on the experience of art, whereas on the outside the Spiral Garden ramp connects the programmatic levels, alternating these intimate experiences with views on the surrounding landscape.
People as a driving force
The idea was to offer to people many different ways to use and live the museum, encouraging visitors to approach art in their lifestyle. The design gives special attention to museum polyvalence. In that sense the character of mayor spaces encourage and allow ephemeral and informal uses and practices. For example, the Sky Art Terrace conceived as exterior exhibition space, will host the sculpture collection of the museum, but it could be also used as event space, accommodating lectures, ephemeral art markets, and live art performances or outdoor art film screenings or even art picnics. According to people increasing sustainable awareness, the building design incorporates green technologies, from the installation of water absorption devices on the building’s roof to climate control through geothermal heating and cooling, or filtering water systems integrated into the spiral ramp garden.
The whole project is conceived in a touristic strategy, in terms of creating identifiable attractions venues, such as the Spiral Garden, the Sky Art Terrace, Art Gallery Mall opens to a wider public: Enhancing the role of non structural programmatic spaces, like circulations, gift shops and commercial points, or outdoor spaces, often considered in conventional museums, as a lesser importance programs, they becomes major attractions for this new museum concept proposal.
The Spiral Garden with its carefully chosen local biodiversity flora will provide a new touristic dimension to the Park, attracting an additional mass of visitors and enhancing its recreational and leisure vocation. One of the most important venues The Sky Art Terrace, located on the top of the building as culmination of the spiral ramp, will offer public outdoor exposition spaces for temporary art performances as well the Hall of Fame and the three thematic restaurants, providing various dramatics and unexpected view sights to visitors.
The project transforms the NTCMArt into an inclusive new landscape display, where museum experience will no longer be viewed as a sacred specialist experience, but rather as a participative and embracing activity, where art and lifestyle gather natural landscape in an innovative and iconic new 21 century venue.Location: Art Park, New Taipei City, Taiwan Architects: Aétrangère Project name: Spiral Garden Museum
Project description: New Contemporary Art and Children Museum (NTCArt)
Type: Open International Ideas Competition
Client: New Taipei City Government
Program: Exhibition space, public space, library, parking, infrastructure, retail, garden, terrace, restaurant, café, and sheltered open space.
Site Area: 20 000 sqm
Project Area: 51 045 sqm
Scope: Architectural, Urban and Landscape Concept Design
Project Year: 2011
Project Leader: Mario Caceres
Team: Mario Caceres, Architect and Urban Planner.
Christian Canonico, Architect and Engineer