A team consisting of Mecanoo, Michael van Gessel, Delva Landscape Architects and Jojko Nawrocki Architekci has won a competition to design the Royal Lazienki Museum in Poland's capital. The 1,800 square meter museum will be buried beneath a triangular, 2.5 hectare “Garden of the 21st Century” in Lazienki Park, one of Warsaw’s most popular cultural destinations. Michael van Gessel and Delva Landscape Architects will focus on the garden, while Mecanoo leads the museum's design.
Both the garden and exhibition center will be inextricably interconnected, as the museum’s design “grew out of the undulating walkway that surrounds the garden.”
Three carved out sections of the landscape will grant access directly into a central hall, one of which leads visitors below via a spiraling staircase illuminated by skylights. This main hall will then lead to four modular exhibition spaces, two large and two small. Each will be used to display temporary exhibitions, while the garden will be used for educational and recreational purposes.
As with any subterranean structure or museum, lighting is key. Diffused, natural light will be provided by a series of skylights in which puncture the garden’s surface throughout the length of the museum.
The architect's described: "Several oculi, or large round skylights, protrude through the walkway and the vegetation creating a mysterious play of light in the garden, but also providing carefully controlled daylight in the pavilion.”