Museum of Contemporary Art
Sao Paulo, 2001
Buildings can be introverted or extroverted. Stressing the privacy of esthetic experience, most museums tend to be the former. However, the proposed new home for the Museu de Arte Contemporanea, which intended to move from its old location in a university to a dynamically growing section of Sao Paolo, provided an opportunity to develop a different type of museum, in which the city is an integral part of the museum experience.
The innovation of the new building is expressed by a simple formulation: the museum must not be just a container; it must also provide a context for the art of its time, setting it into relations both with the history of art and with the dynamic of the surrounding city. The museum is vertical, movement within it is visible from the outside through a panoramic gallery ramp and glass envelope, and its aim is to make art and the city interact. The architecture of the museum consists of three elements: large, open floor plates within a free-flowing envelope; a linear vertical core containing all fire stairs, elevators, plumbing, and mechanical systems; and a city street in the air, composed of curvilinear ramps with city views, linking the gallery floors through movement. more
A publicly accessible covered lobby on the ground floor is intended as a symbolic gift from the museum to the city and its inhabitants: a grand, covered public space that accommodates temporary public art installations and includes an information area, souvenir and book kiosk, and ticket booth. The street-level lobby also leads directly to the auditorium above, encouraging public forums and events while permitting the museum collections to be isolated after hours.
Glass was selected for the outer envelope, with a solid material providing an inner envelope that surrounds the galleries and protects artworks from external light. The ramps for an “in-between” space separate these two envelopes. The ramps are made of tinted concrete, as are the major movement vectors. The contrast between the warm, red tones of the tinted concrete and the shimmering whitish or pale green hues of the glass were intended be a major “sign” for the project. back
International Competition 1st prize, 2001
12,500 sq. meters, approximately 1,600 meters per floor
Friends of the Museum for Contemporary Art
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Anne Save de Beaurecueil, Kim Starr, Robert Holton, Jonathan Chace, William Feuerman, Joel Rutten, Valentin Bontjes van Beek, Thomas Goodwill, Kate Linker, Liz Kim. Consultants: Matt King, Nigel Tonks (ARUP)