Lima - MALI
Type: Museum Competition
Structure: Steel Vierendeel Truss, Charred Cedar, Concrete Slurry Walls
Team: Luiza Souza, Zachary Kile, Noor Al Awadhi, David Harrop, Francesca Carney, Rosanna Pitarresi
The Museum of Art Lima contemporary art wing expansion requested almost equal area for gallery and educational spaces. The competition brief also placed a height limit of one meter in order to ensure that the colonial neo-classical facade of the existing museum building would not be obscured. This height limit essentially required the new building to be completely underground. It was through this combination of programmatic equivalency between education/ exhibition and the necessity to build underground that our proposal developed.
The educational program was tightly packed into a submerged block floated across the site on a series of paired Vierendeel trusses. This compacted mass levitates above the an entirely open gallery, an unobstructed plan available for multiple exhibition layouts. Above ground, the only "building" expression is of a maze of low walls. We likened these to foundations of an architecture yet to be built, or perhaps one built in a remote past that had been demolished. These "foundations" are constructed of a charred cedar wood for weather, insect and fire protection. These cedar edges contain patches of wild grass, which as it grows transforms ground divisions into foot paths navigating the site. This foundation plan is organized around the idea of multiple local symmetries; an indecipherable, stuttering decorative repetition akin to floral arrangement. Once the grass is fully grown, the only visible exterior objects are a series of rusting domes, which appear as potentially older than the existing buildings. As one enters the building through a sunken court, the landscape inverts into an interior ceiling, creating the uncanny feeling of a building turned upside down. This is emphasized further upon moving into the lower gallery level, under the floating educational block. This gallery ceiling is the inverted roof of the classroom block above. The gallery ceiling is entirely filled with mechanical ducts, filled to an excessive absurdity that borders on decoration. The rusted domes protruding in the landscape become abstract light volumes softly hovering within the mechanical system of the ceiling/floor/roof.
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