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ARCHITECTURAL RIDE

Battersea Museum

 

Date: 2012

 

Requester: Archtriumph

 

Team: Atelier Zündel Cristea

 

Site: London, England

 

Program: Museum of Architecture

 

Floor Area: 40 000m²

 

+ project description

 

Our project envisions the regeneration of the Battersea site within a new park combining leisure and architecture, in creating a popular spot welcoming to all, dedicated to the pleasures of mind and body, replete with unique experiences. A space for learning, relaxation, and discussion; an architectural and cultural village in the heart of the city.

 

We tried to keep in mind the principal reasons for why people would visit the new Battersea Museum of Architecture: the opportunity to see and experience architecture while learning about it as a profession and discussing it with others; people watching and mingling amongst fellow visitors; exploring the architectural setting of the power station; revisiting familiar works of art and architecture.

Our aim was to imagine a new Cathedral to Architecture, a building that will challenge its sister structure, the Tate Modern, for international acclaim, and establish a new visual reference point for the city.

 

The development of culture is one of the highest possible human ideals. Therefore, in every museum it is not the exhibition of works that has meaning, but the presence of visitors and their wandering through and exposure to displays of works that stimulate meaning. We have introduced the foreign element of a rail into the space of the power station, which will function above all in animating the empty space. It will offer visitors entering the structure a primary pathway, allowing them to take in the essential layout of the building with a minimum of effort. With the pathway determined by the presence of the rail, the simple fact of moving through the exterior and interior spaces of the station begins to make sense.

 

In its spatial ambition, our project encourages play and fun, categories largely devalued in the traditional world of art. Conceived in this way, cultural spaces are liable to attract new types of visitors. Our project puts the power station on centre stage, the structure itself enhancing the site through its impressive scale, its architecture, and its unique brick material.

Our created pathway links together a number of spaces for discovery: the square in front of the museum, clearings, footpaths outside and above and inside, footpaths traversing courtyards and exhibition rooms. The angles and perspectives created by the rail’s pathway, through the movement within and outside of the structure, place visitors in a position where they can perceive simultaneously the container and its contents, the work and nature.

They come to participate in several simultaneous experiences: enjoying the displayed works, being moved by the beauty of the structure and the city: river, park, buildings.

The project has the strength of evoking the dimension and scale of man in the contemporary era, putting into question our relationship to the structure. It is not only a matter of showing, but also of suggesting post-industrial poetry. We conceived of a double-facetted project: on one hand, a calm and contemplative interior, dedicated to the collection’s display; on the other, an exterior opening upon the surrounding landscape, providing breathtaking views.

 

Can we design a museum in which new design ideas are explored, architectural experimentation is encouraged, and the profession challenged, while attracting large numbers of visitors? Alongside certain serious and important topics, the element of fun in museums is important!

 

For some people, “fun” is a loaded word. Some people would consider words like enjoyable, pleasant, worthwhile and so on, better terms of evaluation for the experience of visiting a museum. For a certain proportion of regular museum goers, “fun” is simply not a word they would consider using in describing the museum experience, implying as it might for them dumbing down, simplification, or out of place hands-on activities, commotion and even noise.  Unsurprisingly, almost all of these respondents are over the age of 50. When it comes to younger respondents however, “fun” is a word often used to describe the museum experience, and in very positive terms. But the use of the word “fun” in describing the museum experience should no longer be limited to a particular generational or social category. 

 

We believe that museums can make learning “fun”, therefore museums can be “fun”.  As young adult architects with children, we often seek out experiences that combine fun and culture. Museums can provide artistically qualitative but fun activities for the entire family. And this is a trend we are delighted to see taking shape, the positive connotation of “fun” for many people with regard to museum going. Generally, museums are indeed fun, and we hope that increasing numbers of people come to view them as such, regardless of age.

 

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battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller costerbattersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller costerbattersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
image Airstudio
battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
image Airstudio
battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
image Airstudio
battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
image Airstudio
battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
image Airstudio
battersea museum of architecture archtriumph london becames a roller coster
image Airstudio