Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
BALTIC SEA ART PARK in Pärnu, Estonia by WXCA Sp.z o.o.
February 4th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: WXCA Sp.z o.o.
The objective of the competition was to find the best visions for a common exhibition space of the Baltic Sea countries in Estonia.
The Baltic Sea Art Park will be located in the downtown of Pärnu, on the left shore of the Pärnu River. According to initial plans, folk art and art work of professionals of the Baltic Sea nations will be exhibited in the floating pavilions. To establish these national pavilions, nine countries will be invited: Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Finland with autonomous Aland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
The target of the international contest was to find visions for a spatial solution on the riverside with green park and historical granite pier as well as the architectural sketch solution for the main building of the exposition hall with a draft for national floating pavilions on water.
On 11th of December, Minister of Culture in Estonia UrveTiidus revealed the resultsin Tallinn, at the Museum of Estonian Architecture.
The goal of the winning entry was to emphasize the idea of community of Baltic Sea states by creating a floating square. The piazza is designed as a common space – a platform for exchange of the Baltic Sea culture that enables integration and interaction between all Baltic countries and their artistic heritage. It is a floating Forum of Art and a heart of the whole concept of the Park. It may become a new, clearly defined public space in a form of a market square that completes the urban structure of Pärnu.
The concept of the project starts with the idea for organizing the space of the southern bank of the river as an urban waterfront for the city. The new urban tissue is the missing link between the Old Town and the Pärnu river. The urban role of the Baltic Sea Art Gallery is to be a new, visible sign in a panorama of the city in a form of a gate, which emphasizes the connection between the city center and a river.
The idea for the project of Baltic Sea Art Park is to create a square, which is the ending of the path leading from the Old Town towards the riverside. The square is surrounded by floating pavilions and the main building of the Gallery, while the whole park is an extension for the indoor exhibitions.
FORUM OF ART
The floating piazza is designed as a common space – a platform for exchange of the Baltic Sea culture that enables integration and interaction between all Baltic countries and their artistic heritage. It is a floating Forum of Art and a heart of the whole concept of the Park. It may become a new, clearly defined public space in a form of a market square that completes the urban structure of Pärnu.
The composition of the square lets us create a multifunctional space that has a variety of uses – it may be a stage for different kinds of cultural events – concerts, performances, spectacles or just a meeting point for city dwellers. It may be attached to the pales and stay on the river also during the winter, serving as a jetty. It can be transported to the other place together with all the pavilions – thanks to that it may function as an independent structure.
MAIN BUILDING – GALLERY
The functional scheme of the main building is a transformed structure typical for houses in a northern Europe. A popular among Baltic countries house was a combination of the living area in the ground floor and a warehouse (granary) in upper floors. The project for Pärnu Gallery replaces the living area with an open, public space on the ground and creates a “warehouse for art” that is elevated above.
The shape of the pavilions and the Gallery building reflects the traditional architecture of Pärnu as well as the architectural typology common for Baltic countries. The form of a pitched roof creates an interior with different heights of the ceiling in the exhibition hall. It enables arranging different kinds of exhibitions with various scale of exhibited pieces. The exhibition hall may be divided in sections along the division of the roof, each one with separate, natural lighting going through the membrane roof cladding.
The composition of the square and a main building is surrounded by a Park that may have a variety of uses. Besides being a green public space in a city it may serve as an extension of the exhibition in the main building and workshop area for visitors and inhabitants. It is designed as a rectangular grid of paths leading to a river bank. Each quarter may be used for different kinds of activities – they may serve as a zone for art workshops, outdoor exhibitions, playground for kids, book – zones, platforms for education – dancing, drawing classes or just recreational places. Some of the quarters are organized by a roofing that may enable an active usage of the park also during the rain.
A city–like pattern of a garden with the shape of the concept of the floating square and surrounding buildings lets us create a unique ambience of a small – scale Town of Art. It fits the scale of the city of Pärnu and adds a new sign in its structure, clearly visible in its panorama.
Jury´s comments on the winning entry
“This entry has an outstanding design and strong urbanistic conception. It is one of the few works that really deals with functionality in a complete, in a very practical fashion. It has also looked riverbank in slightly broader scale by providing a solution to the remaining parts of the shore based warehouse or a medieval building form.
The main building is designed as an art temple, located on the same line as the medieval St. Nicholas Church, destroyed by Soviet air raids during WW II. The building affects the skyline and adds a third dimension to an otherwise quite monotonous view. Its semi-transparent shell acts as a beacon in the dark times. The main exhibition building is raised on piles thus securing good visibility around the park area. Lifting up the whole building stresses the role of the main hall as a prominent new structure in the cityscape.
A main attraction of this entry is a floating square moored to the riverbank. The national pavilions are placed alongside the square, like buildings around a town square. This arrangement secures good circulation to and between the pavilions. This also secures a consistent appearance thus keeping open the final design for the national pavilions. As shown in the plans, this arrangement allows the pavilions to be built in different sizes and shapes according the needs of the individual country without compromising the outcome.
This vision brings to Pärnu a new landmark and will be a great market place for artists from the Baltic Sea countries. It would be the best art-link between past and future in the historical Hanseatic town Pärnu.
The company provides services such as architectural and urban design, as well as interior design and landscape architecture. WXCA is an architectural studio that specializes in designing public utility buildings that require high expertise and knowledge of official procedures necessary for project implementation.Ourportfolio includes the designs of museums, hospitals, stations, recreational and police shooting ranges, as well as single and multifamily residential buildings. We have also worked on the modernisation and adaptation of historic buildings.
Currently, the biggest undertaking of the studio is the Polish Army Museum project that was started in 2010, and is situated on 22 ha of the Warsaw Citadel and neighbouring areas. WXCA’s projects have gained awards many times, among others: nomination for the prize granted by the European Parliament and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation 2012 for Museum Place of Memory in Palmiry.
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