Gross area: 5.750 m²
It is with a sense of great responsibility and passion that we have approached the challenging subject of a new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau.
We see the museum building as a neutral frame for the display of art, a canvass to be filled, a container, a scaffold to be completed by its contents. Furthermore, there are two other prevailing factors present in our design: The location in the Dessau City Park - on a route that aims to become what will unite the separate elements that are a sense of Dessau’s past - and the spirit of the Bauhaus . The location leads to the development of a building in dialog with the surrounding park. Whereas, following the most prominent design approach of the Bauhaus era: “form follows function”, our proposal is conceived of three distinct elements: the exhibition, the visitors’ area and the logistic area. The main component of the building, the exhibition areas, is a two level rectangular prism placed perpendicular on the oblong visitors’ wing at the north and on the logistics area that vanishes progressively towards the park on the south. This ‘three entities’ concept allows not only for a clear reading of the functions of the museum, but enforces the logic of the different accesses, assuring a fluent circulation of visitors and freights.
Regarding the Museum’s building, there are 2 visitor entrances that flank the museum’s multilevel lobby on a north/south axe. The lobby leads to the exhibition areas above through an open staircase and scenic elevators and is also connected to the Museum Education area and the Cafeteria. Both – Museum Education & Cafeteria - can function separately accessed from the park and have generous outdoor terraces towards it.
The logistics area is located in the southern part of the site completely detached at the ground floor, while in direct connection with the exhibition areas at the upper floors through a freight elevator and staircase.
The exhibition function is conceived on two almost identical floors each, our aim being to create a flexible, compelling space in the most discreet way. While the white, clear-cut geometric element with minimal extruded openings, encapsulates the vision of the museum as a vessel of treasures, its modular interior space permits a flexible arrangement of the artefacts, arranged in a circuit, offering unlimited possibilities in the future.
At the level of the materials used, we have partially reinforced the distinction of the three functional elements of the building. The two ground floor components, the visitor’s and the logistics area are treated in a single unifying base, a texture of exposed concrete marked with glass openings when required. Whereas the exhibitions box - a unique, smooth texture of white marble powder mortar coated cement boards– is gently sited above. The gallery walls, floor and ceiling all shades of white are conceived as a neutral frame for the display of art. The floors are ground white concrete. While the ceiling features a modular rhythm of linear gaps in the ceiling concealing air distribution and lighting.
In conclusion, in our approach the museum doesn't mean a rigid, immutable display of art. On the contrary, in tune with the requirements of the curators, we designed the galleries with a maximum of flexibility. Going further still, by conceiving the visitors’ function actively interacted with the surrounding, our aim is to reposition the museum towards a more open social mission, an interactive platform, and thereby linking it to one of Bauhaus legacies that is most intimately wedged in our beliefs:
“Architecture should be a mirror of life and time.”