Stan Allen Architect have shared with us their entry for the New Maribor Art Gallery in Slovenia (you can see the winners on our previous feature). The program mandates a clear institutional identity: A singular architectural complex, a progressive curatorial agenda, and a new place of public assembly in the city.
More images, a video and complete architect’s description after the break.
At the same time, the site demands a sensitivity to the robust historical fabric of the city of Maribor itself. Our project negotiates that apparent contradiction with an architectural solution that synthesizes two distinct yet complementary spatial systems: An open, flowing public platform at ground level smoothly connected to adjacent places of gathering and the banks of the River Drava; and a modulated gallery sequence, developed as an assemblage of parts, scaled to the dimension of the historical parcels. The articulated roofline of the gallery blocks will simultaneously announce the presence of the new Maribor Art Gallery and at the same time stitch it back into the fabric of the city.
The architectural strategy is based on the aggregation of a basic structural module. The pentagonal geometry creates rotational symmetries and an irregular perimeter, increasing the available area of wall space for exhibition purposes. Interval voids allow light to the interior and potential connections between floors. Out of regular elements – simple to construct – a complex whole is created, greater than the sum of its parts.
Each of the 15 elevated gallery blocks yields 165 M2 of exhibition space on two floors. The assembly of these standard elements allows a sequence of well defined gallery spaces, or when joined, creates large continuous spaces available for temporary exhibitions. The loose assembly of parts opens up light wells and terraces, and creates a variety of ceiling heights from a minimum of 4 meters to over 12 meters. The aggregation of blocks allows multiple exhibition circuits for maximum curatorial flexibility within this open yet directed field. The galleries are characterized by generous column-free spaces, ample unobstructed walls and a variety of heights allowing multiple viewpoints.
The pentagonal gallery elements are raised up by means of a radial concrete structure, with each block coming down to a single column. The aggregation of these tree-like structures creates an open field at ground level that can accommodate all of the required public spaces of the program. These public spaces flow smoothly into one another, and are lightly separated from the context by a continuous glass wall. These public programs break from the traditional building parcel size of the historical city yet they are scaled to the iconic open spaces of the city. The interaction and interconnectivity of these new public spaces establishes the collective identity of the new Maribor Art gallery as a public amenity.
Project Team: Giancarlo Valle (project leader), Chris Oliver, Dahlia Roberts, Darina Zlateva, Takuma Ono.