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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

The New Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany by Penda

 
September 16th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Penda

Art and Technology: A New Unity

Resting on the description of Bauhaus by Walter Gropius:”” Only perfect harmony in the technical function and in the proportions of form can produce beauty”, our design for the New Bauhaus Museum is a fusion of clear geometry and technological aspects , that offer a great amount of flexibility and integration to Dessau’s City Centre. Life in a city is multiple, ambiguous and in constant change. Alternating climate seasons and weather conditions, different demand at day or night, various events and happenings throughout the year. Our aim was to create a Museum that connects and interacts with those multiple settings of daily life in Dessau in a very direct and responsive way. Due to its ability to transform itself, it can react to various needs within the City Park and offers the possibility to become a connecting hub, which shapes the community around it and links its visitors to the vision of the Bauhaus era.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

  • Architects: Penda
  • Project: The New Bauhaus Museum
  • Location: Dessau, Germany
  • Project Type: Cultural / Museum
  • Project Year: Competition Finalist (out of 830 participating Offices)
  • Project Size : 4.500m2
  • Project Team: Chris Precht, Dayong Sun, Xue Bai,Veit Burgbacher, Quan He, Pengchong Li, Frank Li, Jeong Hoon Kim, Yurii Suhov

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Bauhaus, its Vitality and its Spirit

The Bauhaus was an era of innovation and technical achievements, a new clarity in architecture, design and art. The Bauhaus is not about form. It is about the performance of form. Not about shape, but about the logic of shape. Not about aesthetics, but how to adapt aesthetics to a daily use. Bauhaus was not only about design and production, but also about teaching, learning, opening its mind to other cultures, integrating new knowledge and celebrating together. A shared spirit connecting art and life. Inspired by this spirit, we see the new Bauhaus Museum as a institution, which is fully integrated into the life of the citizen and its visitors of Dessau. We see it as an Institution, that connects and interacts with its surrounding. An institution, that adapts to the vivid nature of the City Park in a supporting way and as an dynamic platform hosting different sorts of events for its community. We imagine the Museum as an adapting Institution celebrating Art and Life of Dessau.

The City, the Park and the Museum

With the Restoration of Dessau’s City Centre, the Museum site borders frequented and vivid areas of Dessau. Friedrichstrasse in the North and Kavalierstrassestreets to the Eastin connection with the Museum should form a dynamic triangle situated in the City Centre. Like a turning wheel, the museum reorients itself and links the fragmented Bauhaus Institutions into one connected cultural icon for Dessau. Situated within the Park, the museum offers a urban centre point of important pathways and view axis. Due to its flexible transformation, our Proposal reacts to the frequencies of the surrounding in a very natural way. When the 2 platforms rotate, the building opens up and invites people into the park and the museum. Therefore the building aims to be an entrance sculpture to the park. At night and at times the area is not heavily frequented, by closing its platforms, the museum naturally minimises the dark and deserted areas of the Park. The pedestrian area of Ratsgasse connects the Dessauer Rathaus with the Stadtpark. Our urban strategy is to extend the street over the Kavaliersstrasse (declared as Verkehrsberuhigte Zone) to declare this axes as a main entrance to the Park and the Museum.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

The “art axis” not only connects the museum to the city, but also connects art to pedestrians as during summer the area can be inhabited by outdoor installations and events. Our goal is to create a museum, which acts as an extension of the city on one hand and as a connector to the surrounding park on the other. The museum connects with its monolithic building envelope to the surrounding city blocks of Dessau and with its materiality to the neighbouring vegetation of the park, respecting its specific natural conditions within the city. Its height is adapts to the neighbouring building blocks to blend in with the urban fabric along Kavaliersstrasse. With its alternating appearance and adapting to events and happening in the Park, the Museum has the capability to become a new source of inspiration for the urban fabric. Like a turning wheel, the museum reorients itself and links the once fragmented Bauhaus Institutions into one connected cultural icon for Dessau within its City Centre.

The Park, its Seasons and the Museum

We see the new Bauhaus Museum as an addition to the qualities of the City Park. Therefore the design needs to be able to adapt to the park and react to the varying occupancy loads during different seasons throughout the year. During the warmer months of the year, the Museum has to be an integrated element to the vitality on the Park. Visitors and Citizens of Dessau are streaming to the park, lying in the sun, going for a run, playing with kids or watching a concert. In our opinion the Museum needs to be able to adapt to those daily events. During this time of the year, the majority of people are not coming to the City Park because there
is a Museum. But they go to the Museum, because they are in the Park. Thus, the New Bauhaus Museum needs to provide the possibility of becoming a connecting element with the daily life on the Park. During the winter months, a Park is usually an unoccupied island within the City Centre, disconnected with its surrounding.

To attract people to the museum, it needs to be able to speak to the daily life in Winter around the City Park. During those months, the Museum serves as an visible icon to attract visitors to its exhibitions and events and, at the same time, shrinking the mostly deserted landscape of the park. We want to allow the city to enter the building at all times of the day to bring the museum to life and fully engage with the daily happenings of Dessau. Therefore we created the public areas of the Museum as flexible entities, which lets the building adapt to the needs and the demands of its environment. A museum which is not defined by its form, but by its performance. The ability of the Museum to adapt to the dynamic vitality of Dessau is a key parameter in our design. An integrated element during summer, an iconic object during the cold months. In an dynamic interaction with the park.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

The Museum, its Events and Exhibitions

The museum sits as a slender, horizontal structure in the park and combines all stated areas in one compact building envelope. The monolithic, yet flexible design of the museum has the capability of creating a new cultural focal point within the park and the city and provides a very small footprint within the park. By its nature, a museum is composed of two areas of different sentiment: The public areas, which should invite visitors, which is open and transparent to the outside and the exhibition spaces, an introvert entity, which is isolated from natural daylight to protect the artwork. Whereas the lower spaces are curated in principle by the public, all upper levels are the domain of the curators. All public areas, featuring the lobbies, event spaces, a museum store and the cafe are situated on the lower levels of the museum in 2 cuboids with an rectangular footprint of 9×36 Meters and 7 m height. Each entity sits on a circular platform rotating around a stable core in its axis, where Staircases, an
Elevators and the Buildings Hardware like cables and (flexible) pipes are located. These public areas are fully connected to the Art Axis in front of the Museum guiding visitors in a natural way to the inside of the Building.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

The Frame: On each end of the rotating Platforms stable Boxes with 9x9x9 Meters are situated. This outer frame inhabits all areas which need to be fixed within the building, like delivery and storage areas, wet rooms, or emergency exits. The “Cornerstones” of the Museum are connected by an 90m long, interactive roof, resting on the stable boxes and the solid cores of the rotating platforms. Exhibition Halls: The Topois are designed to appear as individual entities on 3 floors, which can be
displayed individually or connected as a group in one enclosed, compact “art envelope”. The elevated exhibition halls offer a special quality of isolation from the surrounding city connecting its visitors to the treetops of the park. Access an Circulation to the exhibition halls are straight forward. Visitors leave the lobby and are pulled up into the spiralling staircase or the elevators in the core. The 2 main cores allow a seamless connection between the public areas and the exhibition spaces.

The core connected to the main lobby is for getting up, the other core for getting down and ends at the cafe/shop area on the ground-floor. The exhibition’s interior is unspecific by design, offering 3 large exhibition spaces in a neutral framework. A vast amount of flexibility is the rule. This minimal, column-free “art container” can house multiple shows simultaneously, offers a thoughtful layout for all Topois of the core collection and can easily accommodate on large connecting exhibition. Imagine Frank Lloyd Wright’s vertical spiral unfolded into 3 long horizontal bands connected by 2 staircases. These chameleon-like areas of the exhibition offer a flexible exhibition choreography and within the space, art determines the way it is experienced rather than the building determining how it is shown. Views to the surrounding city are choreographed at both ends of the exhibition halls and next to the cores offering a moment of connection to the park and its treetops through the weaving facade pattern.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Back of House / Offices:

Back and Front of house are separated to secure a coordinated flow of operations within the museum. 2 isolated zones on each end extend vertically through the entire building. On the northern facade art arrives and gets unpacked, inspected and transferred to into a freight elevator of 4x5m. Within the northern zone, preparation and conservation areas are placed to prepare the artworks for exhibition. A separate entry for administrative staff is provided on the southern end of the building to allow them discrete access to their offices. With offices located throughout the vertical zones, museum employees are always connected to the main exhibition floors of the museum. The back of house on each side of the building constitutes a world in its own, embracing all public and exhibition areas of the museum.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Circulation:

Our proposal is all about the performance of the building. The Museum can react and adapt on different scales to certain needs and demands. Within the city fabric, it can adapt to certain events happening in the park. From smaller events, like readings or public painting classes, to larger happenings like public viewing for the next Fifa World Cup or Music Festivals. The Rotating Public Platforms offer a flexible use of configuration and are able to interact with each other. For a public lecture in the evening there might be a need to connect the event space and the cafe area. Rotating both Platform 180 degrees offer such arrangement. During the day, the main Lobby and the Store can be linked into one configuration. During the summer months, the public areas can be fully opened and the Museum connects to the daily life of the Park in a very direct way. A double skin facade provides shading, views and comfort to users. Compared to the exhibition spaces, the outer layers of timber block the solar gains in summer, while letting it entering in winter to provide passive heating. During the Summermonths, the wooden louvers are
fully openable, providing a natural ventilation and visual connection the surrounding Park. During winter, the facade design allows daylight and solar radiation to penetrate deeply into the public areas on the ground-floor.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Form:

The project aims to pursue an economy of means for construction of the museum. Straightforward and affordable construction systems are deployed where possible for the compact building envelope, but are used in unexpected ways to provide moments of surprise (shapeshifting public-areas).

Structure:

The structural system of the upper galleries can be seen as one large effective space-frame, that can be occupied by visitors and art. Lateral stability to this hovering truss-like beam is provided by the vertical concrete cores distributed along the length of the entire exhibition spaces. Like an ordinary steel bridge, the3d-truss system rests on 2piles on each end and 2 in its centre, which carry the loads in a balanced way to its foundations.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Material:

The proposal pays homage to the great tradition of wood construction in Germany and explores its state of the art technology including prefabricated parts, which limits construction times on site and offers a suitable production environment within the Stadtpark. Therefore we seek to use local materials wherever possible to limit the transport distance and include local suppliers. The wooden facade not only provides a healthy environment, but also offers a visual connection to the surrounding trees of the Stadtpark.

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

Image Courtesy © Penda

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