The New Taipei City Museum of Art conceptual design proposal by Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects and Infinite Studio was initiated from a basic question: How does a museum allow the public to experience a seamless fusion between life and art? A museum is usually located at a specific place and carries certain cultural tasks. Corresponding to the competition’s objectivities, is it a dilemma or a contradiction to expect a museum to allow lives happen seamlessly with the architecture? More images and architects’ description after the break.
We argue that a new museum of contemporary art is not merely an object-like building. Facing the sustainable environment of Taiwan, is a heroic architecture the only possibility of a future museum? To us, an ideal relationship between art and life exists in the countless moments and situations found within life. The creation process of art can never be separated from one’s life. This process is an ideal form of human intellectual thinking and a museum is an ideal space of it.
Museum as Utopia, An Ideal Museum for Everyday Life
Poet Tao Yuan Ming’s “Peach Blossom Spring” in the east Jin Dynasty described the simple and modest lives of a village to deliver an idea of utopia. Painter Chang Tse-tuan’s ”Along the River During the Qingming Festival” in the Sung Dynasty is a painting that collected countless street-cape of Northern Sung’s capital of Pien city. The two art works inspire us greatly; they illustrate ideal spaces with describing ideal lives. We imagine that an ideal museum would be a utopia-like ideal space for exhibitions, creations, and lives.
Ambling as Design Strategy, A Museum for Ambling
“Peach Blossom Spring” begins with a description of a slow approach toward the mysterious village. Learning from Professor Zhao Guang Chao’s “Notes: Riverside”, we realize that the painting “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” is a long handscroll that composites a series of walking sequences from the suburbs to the city. The walking experiences in the paths of fields and the alleys in the cities gave us a new direction of design strategy.
Walking establishes the fundamental relationship between people and environment. In museums, the experience of walking not only establishes a basic relationship between the art works and the people, but also shapes the form of a museum. To us, ambling is the ideal condition of walking in the museums. It allows the sensations and thoughts to flow freely; thus, the seamless fusion between art and life can happen in the modest and natural conditions.
Organic Interfaces and Sensations
The boundaries between the architecture and the streets are designed as organic interfaces to slow down the speed of the public’s movement and increase the interactions between the art works and the people. Lines that defines the distance between art and people could not merely a boundary dividing the two, but can be realized as interfaces that bridging art and people. The interfaces are designed with various openings, material, and technology to let people explore art with their sensations vividly.
“Compounded Ground” and “Multi-Layered Envelope” as Sustainable Design Strategy
We learn that spirit of sustainable architecture is the wisdom of minimum architectural operations within everyday Life. The spirit of minimum architectural operations is not equal to the style of minimalist but the art of proper design actions. Based on the fundamental needs of functions, our proposal suggests “Compounded Ground” and “Multi-Layered Envelope” as two suggestive conceptual design strategies for the future museum.
“Compounded Ground” connects land, exhibition buildings, and the underground mega structure; this multi-functional ground integrates ventilation, plantation, and mechanical facilities. It is an interface between the nature and the artificial constructions.
“Multi-Layered Envelope” includes two kinds of wall system. The first wall system suggests easily replaceable solid panel as the unit of envelope’s skin; the replaceable panels are as canvas of artists’ art works viewed closely by the visiting public. The other wall system is composited by multi-layered perforated / transparent / translucent materials such as metal screens, bamboo grillage, glasses, and the polypropylene. It allows the visiting public to view art works ubiquitously.