The proposal ‘A Museum for All’ is a collective museum, an urban infrastructure driven by social and economical responsibility, rather than an aesthetics.
The project draws inspiration from the ideas of Peredevzhiniki’s movement not only in relation to the creation of an art that presents contemporary life but to in the bringing of this out of the capitals into the countryside. Within the project the Modular gallery spaces are designed and assembled according to the needs of the curator and the exhibition he needs to install. These spaces are about assembling components and creating appropriate vessels for their time. By designing components and using repetitions, one ensure that the economy is reflected in a more energy efficient way.The concept of a stack of modular gallery spaces can be adapted to a variety of cultural and recreational functions. This is not to be a frozen exhibition space but rather an opportunity for improvisation and adaptation supported by the main 15’x15’ structural grid.
Three staircases and three elevators, positioned on the exterior membrane these express the complexity of the building, take the visitor from the public sidewalk up to the second and third level.
The ground floor maximises public accessibility and circulation by eliminating the traditional idea of a building envelope. The latter consists of six publicly accessible zones which include, a restaurant, bars, neighbourhood market, coffee shop, sushi shop, flower shop, museum offices, store, ticket booth and a performance space.
Restaurant, performance space and the coffee shop are positioned at the edges on the urban with the aim of spilling out into the streets as well as into the interior of the museum. Performance spaces, which can be closed via curtains when necessary, exploit the large glazing on the street edge to create a unique experience for the passersby,
The rest of the site is designed as a public art gallery space, one which will be utilized for street art and large public art installations as well as gathering spaces.
2nd & 3rd F
Second and third floors consist of small, medium and large modular gallery spaces placed within the main 15’x15’ structural grid system. Each connected through mezzanines maximizing visual connections as well as physical connections. Using industrial components the design is based on an interchangeable and adaptable kit of parts.
What prompted the project?
The project took off by researching and studying the socio-economical conditions of today, and various movements from the past, such as Peredvizhniki (1870) and Social Realism (1920’s).
Social segregations generated by our current system results in the division of classes in our society. As the populations of our cities are rapidly growing, the gap between the poor and rich is increasing. This increase results in various problems, one of which is the great threat against our social values. One’s fight for acceptance in this system becomes tougher day by day. One big question had risen from the research; what are architects role in our changing society? Now is the time to rethink our responsibilities as architects. Change in society goes hand in hand with participation, which lacks in one of the most valuable modern assets we have today, the museums. “Museum For All” proposes a museum that is for all and everyone, a museum that is not a temple, but a vehicle for two-way participation. This collective museum is an urban infrastructure driven by social and economical responsibility, rather than any other aesthetically pleasing museum.
What is your take on the contemporary state of museums?
Today, the contemporary state of museums is tricky. On one hand, there are museums holding million dollar art pieces that are serving the certain segment of the population. On the other hand, there are those that are participatory. However, it is challenging to create a space that is participatory and for all, through architecture. I think that our museums today are leaning towards a showroom rather than connecting with a larger infrastructure we have, which is education. If we can link this infrastructural element with the contemporary state of museums, we can begin to fully take advantage of them.
What is for you an example of a 'good' museum?
I think our cultural assets such as museums should always keep in mind the general public throughout the design process. A ‘good’ museum for me is one that can be educational, encouraging participation, and responsive to those that will be impacted by its construction.
What museum references did you look to when'd developing the project? How did these case studies influence your design?
Centre Georges Pompidou by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfranco Franchini, Cedric Price’s Fun Palace and Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York were some of the main references I looked at for this project.
Aside from the technological and structural advances they’ve utilized in Centre Pompidou, the social impact and the amount of which building was designed for the people was extraordinarily influential.
Other references that affected the project, as I mentioned before were a couple of movements from around the world that addressed similar socio-economical issues of their time. Peredvizhniki, Social Realism, and the Aschan School rejected the ideas of the bourgeoisie world, the higher power and authority, but wanted to depict the daily life of the common man.
In this project, one of the main aspects was to create a museum for everyone, where the entire population could take advantage of the same opportunities. This is why studying these movements and Centre Pompidou allowed the museum to have such an inviting ground floor that eliminated the traditional idea of a building envelope. Thus, the ground floor became a public gallery and participation zone. Another feature, “Gallery on Wheels” influenced by the Peredvizhinki movement is aimed to create a system, which will rotate art in and out of the building, on wheels, like a roller coaster for inspiration.
Do you believe in a truly generic and flexible space as the optimum contemporary museum typology? What is your take on the white cube typology?
In a world that is changing in an extremely fast pace I believe that we must always design with the future in mind and be flexible. I believe that flexibility comes in two forms, physically and mentally. I think generic is not the driving factor in this project, rather the result. The generic in this case is for those that are adventurous. Although the first appearance might seem generic, the program and people create the identity of this museum. Thus, it is a place for experimentation, participation and joy.
Berke Kalemoglu is an architectural designer with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Auburn University. He is currently pursuing his Master of Science degree in Architecture and Urban Design at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Upon graduation, he plans to work for large development projects with attention to detail Having worked in Europe and the United States has helped him gain perspective of the social and technical responsibilities of architecture and urban design.
When he is not working in studio, he can be found at museums or reading Rem Koolhaas.