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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Museum
  4. Albania
  5. Bolles + Wilson
  6. 2016
  7. Korça Icon Museum - National Museum of Medieval Art / Bolles + Wilson

Refurbishment in Architecture

presented by the MINI Clubman

Korça Icon Museum - National Museum of Medieval Art / Bolles + Wilson

  • 02:00 - 10 December, 2016
Korça Icon Museum - National Museum of Medieval Art / Bolles + Wilson
Korça Icon Museum - National Museum of Medieval Art  / Bolles + Wilson, © Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

© Roman Mensing © Roman Mensing © Roman Mensing © Roman Mensing + 18

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

Text description provided by the architects. The building for the Korça Icon Museum was originally a structure of columns and floor slabs (maison domino) abandoned when communism collapsed in Albania. The Albanian office DEA Studio sh.p.k. were comissioned to design facades and BOLLES+WILSON were then asked by the municipality of Korça to design and develop an interior exhibition design for the 300 orthodox icons.

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

The heavy walls on the exterior with their small windows were intended to give an appropriate medieval reading. The small windows from the inside did give an appropriate mysterious atmosphere but in terms of viewing Icons they were too bright and needed some interior masking to avoid too much contrast between a small area of bright outside light and the surrounding.

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

Exhibition Orgaization 

The given three levels subdivide well into Basement Archive with ground level laboritories/administration. The Exhibition spaces belong on the entrance level and the 1st floor - here the interior concept proposes a specific circulation route for visitors and an absolute division between public spaces and ‘back of- house’. This is necessary for reasons of security (the public must not have the possibility to enter rooms where Icons are being worked on).

Axonometric
Axonometric

The floor between entrance level and 1st floor has been removed over the entire left hand exhibition room. This allows a new stair facilitating a simple and spectacular visitors circulation route. The new stair gives panorama views of a 9.5 metre high golden wall - for this wall the Petersburg hanging system was chosen - a close packing of Icons, a tapestry of images covering the entire wall, impressing visitors with the size of the Korca collection.  

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

A Sequence of Rooms

The interior concept develops zones of strong individual character defined by colour (gold on the left, black matt and gloss black in the central ‘Black Labyrinth‘ zone and Red for the iconastas (Altar screen)on the right. The Sequential Rooms are carefully choreographed for the most dramatic effect:

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

(a) Entrance Lobby - an abstract collage of shelves for merchandising, - postcards, posters, local handcrafts and even small Icons painted by Korca artists (a new local industry) are displayed and sold. 

Drawing
Drawing

(b) The Gold Room - a two floor high gold screen (one that also wraps the sidewalls and tames natural light from slit windows). The screen is packed with Icons.  Visitors promenade freely and then step up to the stair landing where an information handrail tells them what they are looking at.

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

(c) The White Balcony - overlooking the Gold Room, it has a heavy Black handrail and a white (conventional museum) rear wall for a row of small Icons. These lead to an opening on the right.

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

(d) The Black Labyrinth - the central zone of the museum is particularly dark and mysterious with individually lit Icons floating in the penumbra. Walls are painted in a collage of matt and gloss black and grey to enhance the collage effect. Side alcoves with lower ceilings and wooden floors bring individually hung Icons intimately close to viewers.

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

(e) The Red Salon - from the Black Labyrinth visitors emerge into a sensual space where all surfaces are red. The central zone is defined by a 10cm high platform on which stands the iconastas (Altar screen).

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

(f) The final exhibition room is white with an illuminated ceiling - an ethereal space. The room displays the two most valuable icons from the 14h century.

© Roman Mensing
© Roman Mensing

View the complete gallery

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
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Cite: "Korça Icon Museum - National Museum of Medieval Art / Bolles + Wilson" 10 Dec 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/800159/korca-icon-museum-national-museum-of-medieval-art-bolles-plus-wilson/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Roman Mensing

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