The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas is a stunning piece of architecture by Tadao Ando. Ando’s work is influenced by the Japanese concept of Zen, which focuses on simplicity and inner peace. This museum stresses this concept through its simple form, connection with nature, and selective use of materials. The structure is made of concrete, steel, and glass, and is surrounded by a large reflecting pool. The minimal spaces in The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth allow plenty of room for sculpture, paintings, and people. With it’s thoughtful simplicity Ando’s museum enhances the art it contains, therefore enhancing the user’s overall experience. This building is everything a museum should be: pure, practical, and peaceful.
The Museum of Modern Literature is located in Germany and was designed by London based architect David Chipperfield, of David Chipperfield Architects. The museum is set in Marbach’s scenic park overlooking the valley of the Neckar River. Neighbors to Chipperfield’s museum are the National Schiller Museum and the Archive for German Literature. The museum displays artifacts of 20th century literature, including original manuscripts of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. Completed in 2006, the museum won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize in 2007. The museum’s façade is dominated by limestone columns which create a dramatic portico surrounding the building. The interior galleries are dimly lit with artificial light so as not to destroy the delicate manuscripts. To contrast the necessary lighting conditions of the galleries, Chipperfield allows the circulation hallways to flood with sunlight from the tall glass windows which constitute the exterior walls. The evenly spaced columns and consequential portico call to mind the cerebral architecture of sacred temples. Chipperfield’s museum is very much a temple, a shrine to the literary works it contains and to literature in general. The simple, rational design of this museum allows it to be as expressive and communicative as the books it contains.
The Serralves Foundation Museum was designed by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira and completed in 1999. Located in the Quinta de Serralves, a large property close to the center of Porto, it was the first large-scale contemporary art museum in Portugal. The entire building is an exercise in quiet contemplation, from the very beginning at the entrance patio to the smallest details of furniture, fittings, and signage. The silent, almost monolithic structure is occasionally interrupted by strategic openings onto the surrounding green, creating an interesting cadence of open/closed and naturally/artificially lit spaces. The vast surrounding landscaped gardens were designed by João Gomes da Silva and currently display sculptures by minimalist artists such as Dan Graham and Richard Serra. Having recently had the opportunity to visit the foundation, I can say it was a pleasure to experience first-hand Siza’s masterful weaving of minimalistic, contemplative spaces. Photography by Fernando Guerra.
The Musealization of the Archaeological Site of Praça Nova of São Jorge Castle, in Lisbon, a project by Portuguese architect Joao Luís Carrilho da Graca apart from being an exceptional project has also received the Piranesi Prix de Rome 2010 international prize. But, who could describe this project better than the architect himself? The following text is part of the text published in Pirenesi Prize application. The excavation of the Castle’s Praça Nova, begun in 1996, uncovered remnants of its successive periods of inhabitation, leaving the exposed archeological site open to an intervention of protection and musealization. […] The first action was its clear delimitation with a precise incision: a wall of corten steel to contain the higher perimetrical surface. The same precision was used in the inserted steps, landings and seating, setting them apart from the excavated walls. The canopy for the protection of the XI Century Muslim domestic structures and its frescoes was an opportunity to reproduce its spatial experience. Conjectural, abstract and scenographic, the white walls float above the visible foundations, touching the ground on mere 6 points, while its covering filters the sunlight. Underlying the whole site, the evidence of the Iron Age settlement is exposed and...
Today’s post will be hopefully yet another reminder that minimalism does not always have to consist of black and white. It is actually not the color what defines minimalism. Rather, one might look at strong element, cohesive material, connection, or repetition and see the overall harmony and concept supported by their use. All is hopefully achieved with simplicity and restraint. Now let’s have a look at The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center in Dovre. Built by the fantastic Snohetta, I can applaud the architects for finding the balance between the focal point of the design and creative solution to the actual structure. The achievement here is the humble, yet absolutely beautiful and innovative execution of the Center while the most prominence was left to the surroundings, panoramic views and really, the existing “architecture” of nature. The site itself is 90 square meters, has comfortable seating area, features a fireplace and a glass facade that is supported by steel fins. The Pavilion was constructed by using Norwegian Shipbuilding techniques. The waving effect was achieved by using 10 inch wooden beams that were milled and assembled by making good use of pegs.
Teshima Art Museum by Ryue Nishizawa with collaborating artist, Rei Naito, is a beautiful space in Japan. As described by Domus, The Teshima Art Museum is almost completely empty, devoid of contents. Its interior is fluid, a concrete membrane carpeting the ground and wrapping up from shadowy edges to span as a low unobstructed dome overhead. Neither columns nor beams interrupt the organic singularity of the total volume. Similarly there is none of the clutter normally associated with museums. There is something undoubtedly zen about the space, with nothing but focus on the moving breeze through the oculus on the roof, the disk sky in shades of blue and white, and the collecting of raindrops. These are the interests of the artist Naito, the natural phenomena of water, light and air. I can feel my senses heightened just by imagining the ‘emptiness’ of the space. Photography by Iwan Baan.