The focus of this graduation project is designing a museum of modern art for the city of Antwerp. The final design is a ‘research driven design’ based on three factors: (1) the qualitative and quantitative program definition as a result of the collective research, (2) the literature research and case-study which clarifies the modern requirements of the user and also the design tools for a museum and (3) the analysis of the site which contributes to the contextual design solutions.
The current situation shows the neglect of the relation between the Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (MHKA) and its environment. Moreover the museum is exposing both architectonic as programmatic obstacles and it maintains a strong demand towards a new design for the museum. The main essence in the design is creating a museum in where the interior focuses on providing a large variety of public spaces. The building volume will be located on a triangular lot between two existing buildings, and needs to be integrated with the historical urban tissue of Antwerp.
A solution for building level is achieved by creating a strong separation between the exhibition halls and the supporting functions of the museum. The transparent volume between those two particular volumes serves as the organizing system of the entire building and it accentuates the sightline from the modern part to the historical part, south of Antwerp. Because of this, the design is becoming clear and efficient by clustering the supporting functions into one volume. On the other hand, the primary exhibitions are those in the gallery and other halls and they are strongly emphasized as the most important spaces of the entire museum. The constructive cores are applied in the supplementary part as well as in the exhibition area for housing the needed lavatories, storage, exhibition, (emergency) staircase, shaft and elevators.
To enhance the characteristics of the building, there has been chosen for a modern composition of the façade in where a certain measurement system is the base of the created lines. Hereby the museum meets rationalism and the façade result in being better understood.
The most public functions of the museum are located on the ground floor: a grand café, museum shop, multifunctional zone, talking areas, offices and exhibition halls. The basement is housing an auditorium, installation facilities, storage rooms, management and an extensive depot. The more educational functions as the library for media and literature, and a documentation room are spread out over the second and third floor of the supplementary building volume. Several working places are located around a void, which result in a benefit of natural daylight. Every single hall of the three exhibition halls has its own character and is designed according to special techniques to create an innovatory exhibition of the modern art. Bringing a visit to the museum will result in an interesting adventure that ends in a final exposition with Panamarenko as culmination. This dome, with a panoramic view of Antwerp, exhibits the works of the Belgian sculptor Panamarenko. This brings the artworks to a whole new dimension and it will become attractive to worship his art.
The final result of the design process shows that making use of a combination between new and traditional design techniques, it is possible to create an attractive and representative museum for modern art, inside the historical urban tissue of Antwerp.