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Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow, Poland designed using VectorWorks
April 7th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
The new main building of the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow offers a symbolic and attractive combination of virtually all the symbolisms associated with the museum, including the idea of flying, the atmosphere and structure of an airfield and a passion for the history of technology.
The architecture of the building, which houses a reception area, exhibition space and administration offices, blends in a logical and natural way with the existing complex of hangars and workshop buildings. The old hangars were a source of inspiration for the square platform on which the structure has been based, as well as for its low roofline.
The new structure both continues and modifies the basic square module. Like a sheet of paper that is cut-out and folded to build a plane. Cast in reinforced concrete, the museum fans out into a light airy shape evoking the image of a huge three-bladed propeller.
The spacious glazed interior opens out freely in all directions. The reception area faces the street, while the library and office windows overlook the park to the west. The exhibition hall finds harmony with an undeveloped area in front of it and offers an unobstructed view of the former runway and of airplanes parked outside. The subdued colours of the walls and the floor in the northern wing provide an elegant background to the collection. The airplanes seem to be ready for take-off and do not look like mere exhibits.
Not only do the gently shaped open spaces immediately offer a clear view of the options available to the visitor, but they also allow unhindered access to any of them, whether the visitor chooses to watch a film in the fuel-tank shaped projection room, to have a look at exhibit cases or to enter the main exhibition space to admire the airplanes on view.
The first floor, which opens with a huge glazed wall to the exhibition hall, houses a restaurant, a bar, a library open to the general public and a lecture room with 150 seats. Further upstairs, on the second floor, the glass walls of the museum offices open up onto the park and onto the exhibition space. In some of the rooms sunlight appears to be coming from an airplane window.
The Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow has erected its new main building in its vast grounds along Jana Pawła II avenue 39. The building will also play the role of entrance to a complex combining the Museum and the Aviation Park located within the Krakow’s historic Rakowice-Czyżyny airport.
The building plays symbolic and practical roles by housing the Museum offices, a conference and study area and an exhibition hall and by offering its dramatic shape as a new icon of the entire Museum complex. As the bulk of the collection remains in the existing buildings and in an outdoor display, the new space provides a creative link with the landscape of the historic airfield.
The architectural concept designed by Pysall.Ruge Architekten with Bartłomiej Kisielewski won the first prize in an open international architectural competition in 2005.
From the outset, the architects agreed four priorities for the design:
A square base was adopted for the design that corresponded to the size of a historic hangar from 1929 located at the centre of the Museum grounds.
The square 62.5 x 62.5 m concrete platform served as a base for the main building’s three wings designed so as to form patios opening up in three directions: to the southern approach to the museum, to the future Aviation Park and towards the existing museum buildings.
By having its bulky form broken up into three wings the new building successfully avoids dominating the existing facilities, while its transparency allows various components of the environment to ‘see’ each other.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE CONCEPT
The grounds of the former Rakowice-Czyżyny Airfield are a registered historic monument. Care was taken to ensure that the new development would add quality to the area.
The overall composition base was adjusted to the height of existing trees. Colourful flower meadows and mowed lawns were designed between the access roads and footpaths. Every field will have its own specific plants selected to ensure a chosen colour all year round. In this way both the new and the existing buildings will receive specific ‘addresses’ and the scheme may help visitors find their way around.
The effect is a complete, modern landscape design to meet the various requirements of a museum park.
SPATIAL AND ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT
The architecture of the building offers modern design solutions and stands out in its environment but maintains respect for the surrounding landscape.
The single-piece building has been carefully shaped to create three internal and three external spaces. The form-factor brings associations of a huge fan or propeller.
The three wings house various functions corresponding to the needs and plans of the client. The unobstructed 10-metre high spaces in two of them offer an environment where the standing and suspended collection can ‘live’ at various levels. The west wing was divided into three floors of 3.5 metres each and houses the study, conference and administrative functions.
The wings meet at a hub. This is where most public functions have been placed, including the ground floor entrance hall, lobby of the multi-purpose room and the first-floor restaurant.
Inter-visibility between the sections of the building was adopted as a crucial principle. A visitor or a conference participant looking through the omnipresent glazing will be able to keep the airplanes almost constantly in view.
The logical and functional structure adopted in the building is intended to provide comfort for the various users of the building and be suitable for the different activities planned.
The building’s three floors reflect its three main functions as a museum, a study and conference facility and an office.
The ground floor houses the entrance zone with a freely accessible temporary exhibition space,
a small cinema, a museum shop and modelling workshops. The lobby opens up to the exhibition space occupying two wings. The largest of the wings, designed around the size of the planned exhibits, displays the museum’s showcase airplanes and engines. Some of these can be suspended above the standing exhibits adding dynamism to the collection. The wing meets with an educational exhibition section ensuring the smooth flow of the visitor traffic.
The internal exhibition space is supplemented by an outdoor display area on the square concrete platform between the wings of the building. This section is devoted to temporary exhibitions.
A multi-purpose room seating 150 is located on the first floor alongside a lobby, the museum bar, the library with a reference room and Internet-enabled computer workstations.
SHELL DEFINES SHAPE
The layout of the wings and the functional structure were designed taking into account the cardinal points and daylight analysis.
The building is enveloped by a concrete shell that defines its overall shape. By carefully shaping this structure the designers were able to protect the exhibition space from direct exposure to the sun, while allowing in sufficient daylight and opening the building to the surrounding landscape.
INTERIOR AND MATERIALS
Natural and raw-looking materials were selected for the building to provide contrast to the surrounding greenery. The light and the colourful surroundings will complement the interior spaces.
The existence of visual relationships between different sections of the entire space was adopted as an essential design principle and some of the internal walls are glazed to allow this contact.
The outer shell defining the building shape is made of architectural concrete, which has been left exposed both on the inside and outside.
Anodised aluminium was proposed as a finishing material on some of the walls and stairwell details. This material was consistently repeated in components of the exhibition furniture. The ground floor was made of integrally coloured high-load concrete.
Heavy duty parquet was used for the upper floors, including in corridors, office rooms, the multi-purpose room and the library to provide an effect of warmth.
The irregular form-factor of the plan and the great spans provided the designers with a serious challenge in striking the right balance between the construction constraints and the architectural design.
The engineering design involved the use of different construction solutions and materials in the office wing and its walls from those used in the roof structure of the exhibition wings that span 12 and 45 metres.
The reinforced-concrete office wing serves as a stiffening component for the entire building structure.
HVAC DESIGN AND SYSTEMS
The designers aimed to create an energy-efficient building (including heating, ventilation and lighting) that would use local energy resources and would meet the project’s budgetary constraints.
The building design respects the rules of sustainable design.
Two temperature zones were designed. The two 10-metre high exhibition wings constitute the lower temperature zone. The west wing devoted to the study, conference and office functions is kept warmer. In summer, both zones can be interconnected by opening the dividing walls. This division into ‘climate zones’ considerably improved the building’s energy efficiency.
The abundance of natural light penetrating deep into the building minimises the requirement for artificial light during working hours.
The floor-heating system incorporated in the exhibition wings by the client will be supplied via a heat-pump and will reduce the cost of heating in winter. In summer, the same system will be used to cool the building.
Much effort went into the illumination and lighting design. A complete illumination design for each internal space uses lights placed on the floor, walls and under the ceiling to underscore the building’s unorthodox geometry.
Through its remarkable form the new Polish Aviation Museum building not only communicates its own function, but also encourages visitors inside.
Pysall.Ruge Architekten is an architectural design studio established in Berlin in 1993 by Justus Pysall and Peter Ruge, graduates of the Technical University of Braunschweig.The office benefited from an extensive experience that both partners had gathered working on numerous projects and in academic posts both in Germany and abroad. Justus Pysall had worked for Foster Associates in London, for Jean NouvelAssociés in Paris and held an academic post with Architectural Association in London. Peter Ruge had developed his career in Kyoto, Japan, where he had worked for Ueda-Ateliers and Genplan Architects and lectured at the Ashiya College of Arts and Computer.
All this experience has translated into international collaborations on numerous international projects. Pysall.Ruge Architekten have become known for its creative approach that also took into account technological and environmental aspects while working to precisely defined budgets and deadlines. Examples of such projects include a residence for the Ambassador of South Africa in Berlin, the construction of a complex comprising embassies of five Nordic countries in Berlin, a design of the United Arab Emirates Embassy, the construction of an Embassy of Canada in cooperation with KSG Architects of Toronto, as well as the most recent projects, including LTD_1 building in Hamburg, Rose of Mianyang building in China and the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow (with B.Kisielewski).
For the last eight years, Pysall.Ruge Architekten worked on their Polish projects with Bartłomiej Kisielewski. Prior to his collaboration with Pysall.Ruge, he had worked, among other studios, with Takamatsu & Lahyani Architects Associates inBerlin and DDJM Architects in Krakow. In 2010, Bartłomiej Kisielewski co-founded Horizone Studio in Krakow.
Contact Pysall Ruge Architect
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