New art museum in Louvain-la-Neuve links city and park landscape
This art museum is sited between the main square of the town of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium and an existing lake and park. The concept was to create a building that preserves the park setting and extends it to the town square while acting as an element marking the entry to the civic parking deck below the town centre.
The museum consists of two massing elements: an exhibition tower, housing the museum’s permanent collection, and a park-covered base, containing public functions and temporary exhibits. The roof of this base provides pedestrian connections within an elevated park, creating a terrace which overlooks the lake. The exhibition tower slopes out of the landscape, forming a vertical element which marks the vehicular and pedestrian entries to the town square.
The tower’s north face is a glazed channel-glass system, employing light shelves to allow diffuse light into the galleries. The southern corten wall protects the museum’s collection by restricting direct sunlight from the galleries and a living green wall marks the museum's upper entry from the town center. The use of materials that mature over time allow this building to coexist harmoniously with its naturalistic landscape.
The curving south wall defines new pedestrian paths connecting the lake and town centre. Views of the lake from surrounding buildings and terraces of the town centre are preserved and framed by placing the tower along the site's vehicular edge.
Permanent galleries are located around an atrium which acts as an orientation space for the collection. Louvers over the atrium modulate light and act as solar collectors. Off of this space are a series of circulation routes providing a variety of ways of experiencing the collection. Terraces provide exterior exhibition and event space and allow lake views from the galleries.