Semifinalist in the internal selection process of the company
Bauhaus Museum and related spaces.
Competition information ⧉
Designed during the professional experience at:
The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology
Company website ⧉
Conceptual and basic design of the museum building and reorganization of an area of the Dessau Stadtpark..
Dessau, in the German Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, is a city of approximately 77.000 ihabitants. It is one of the main cities in the state. During World War II, its historic centre was severely damaged by the Allies, and was later reconstructed with modern-style architecture.
When it comes to architecture, though, Dessau is remarkable for having been one of the headquarters of the Bauhaus, the renowned art school that strongly influenced modern architecture on the early 20th Century. Furthermore, Dessau features various examples of the architecture produced at the school, making the city a very relevant architecture hotspot.
Bauhaus School Building in Dessau.
In the year 2015 an international competition was opened for the design of the future Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, with plans of building it in year 2019. The requirements, carefully specified in the competition program, defined the museum site (in the northeastern area of the Dessau Stadtpark, a central but underused park) and the spaces expected in the project: A permanent exhibition with a sequential disposition, a temporal exhibition space, maintenance spaces and warehouses, a shop, an events space, a cafeteria, and a workshop space. The latter three had to be combinable, togeter with the entrance hall, to form a space to house larger scale events.
The first project strategy was to organize spaces efficiently, following Bauhaus ideals of functional design. The program, as mentioned, specified different interrelations that spaces shouls have between them apart of the ones logical for a building of this kind. But Bauhaus concern was not just function. A building was a work of art, and as such, it had to follow aesthetic canons and its shape and proportion were important factors as well. Therefore, the project works with known proportions such as squares or golden ratios, to the point in which even the logical entrance path followed a golden spiral.
Entrance path (golden spiral).
View of the entrance hall.
One of the principal concerns was that the joint space resulting from the hall plus the cafeteria and workshop worked well for housing events, without any inconvenience for the functioning of these spaces when they were split.
For the museum spaces, located in the second level, the facade is completely opaque and the inside is illuminated via skylights. A circular path was thought for the permanent exhibition, which permitted access and exit to be done through the same point. Near the access point, the temporary exhibition space is annexed.
Special attention was put on the relation of the building with its surroundings. The building is tilted in relation to the axis of the surrounding streets, in a move that may seem random at first, but that is actually sustained by different intentions:
The place where the building is located, the northwestern corner of the Stadtpark, stands in the middle of the most comfortable path from the station to the city's central square. The current layout of the park does not aknowledge this path, and therefore the route loses clarity. One of the reasons why the museum is tilted is for a building appendix (housing the temporary exhibition and warehouses) to go along this path, and guide it through the inner court of the building and through it.
Position of the building in relation to the station-centre route.
Response of the building to this route.
The building goes along the pedestrian path.
Moreover, it was found that by tilting the building, unlike with a straightly aligned one, some spaces were formed around it that departed from the traditional corridor-like street to wider, square-like spaces, that invite to permanence instead of circulation. This way, the special position of the building transforms its surroundings from streets to city squares.
Urban spaces generated by the tilting of the building.
And finally, the position of the building makes its extremity (and therefore the pedestrian route) point directly to the original Bauhaus School Building, generating a symbolic link even if the school building isn't visible from the museum site.
The museum points to the Bauhaus School Building.
But without any doubt, the most remarkable element of the building is the lookout tower, a prominent element that, though not included in the program demands, is intended to belong to the permanent exhibition and enables the Bauhaus School to be seen from the museum, and vice-versa. But not just that: the tower places the museum and makes it visible from many key points in the city, like the train station or the main square. In fact, it is visible from any point of the aforementioned pedestrian path.
View from the station towards the museum.
This element is not very invasive, as it doesn't exceed the height of nearby buildings. In fact, when we look at Dessau, we will find the city is dotted with pinnacles, most of them bell towers, that position its different churches. Maybe such an important event for the city as the installation of the Bauhaus was would also be important enough to leave its merk in the image of the city.
View of the museum from Kavalierstraße.