First place for depA

Thursday 10 Mar 2011

Portuguese design studio takes pole position in international competition for Museum of Contemporary Art Santiago Ydáñez

depA, winners of Museum of Contemporary Art Santiago Ydáñez International Competition explain that the primal gesture for enhancing the existing building’s spatial value is an extension of the existing volumes. While making the most of the space within given boundaries, building heights were strategically maintained and space between houses converted to an access platform to the museum. The design studio aimed for an achievable integration to the existing urban logic which would restore the memory of an old industrial site.

The winning concept design lies in parallel with a direct quote from the young contemporary artist Santiago Ydañez, who articulated: “I like to work with big formats, letting gestures loose loose, in a sort of dance.It's an experiment of huge tension and concentration in which sometimes you can get completely evaded."

The high and deep naves and the neutral and homogeneous materiality of the interior spaces match - by opposition - with Santiago Ydañez's expressive and forceful work. As a key element of any qualified architectural space, natural light was carefully controlled to create a peaceful atmosphere. Space is illuminated through rooftop ‘natural lamps’, which allow a continuous reading of the interior.

Functions of public nature concentrate on the ground floor: permanent and temporary exhibit rooms, video and projection area, cafeteria and store, which communicate directly to the central reception and information area (foyer). It is also from this point that one can access the upper level (of administrative nature) and the lower level, a more reserved space, organised around a central patio and where one can find complementary public spaces, deposits and general installations.

The choice for a compact volume of exposed cast-in-place concrete allows an austere integration to the surrounding landscape and guarantees a fast and efficient construction at the same time. The two existing houses will be the objects of careful conservation in order to preserve their constructive and spatial quality.


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