International Contest: ACSA Wood Product Competition, USA
Publication: Arhitext Design Magazine, No.8.2003
contemporary wood musem-environmental architecture_notes on project_acsa wood product competition_usa
by arch. alexandru crisan, arch. ana-maria crisan
published: [arhitext design, other materials, no.08 (127), 2003]
First of all, wood is a living material; it is constantly alive even after being processed. The multilevel solutions are very flexible and they may be found in nature, too. In Wood Museum the intention is that of architecture in response to landscape aesthetic (form, color, texture). In theory, wood in architecture appears to be more camouflaged and introverted in nature, into the landscape. In choosing the landscape, we looked for a historical image, a natural born image of a camouflaged and introverted wood, wood-water corresponding as well. At its origin, Kiseleff Park was a site that initially reflected the substance of the landscape: muddy and swampy fields, covered in woods, rich in lakes and ponds. Nowadays, the modern image recalls nothing from the old days Bucharest. The proposal is that of a building raised in the contemporary architectural style, dynamic and ready to recreate the initial image by using wood as exhibit. The idea of body of water existed in the landscape at the city origin, more like a water presence between the forest trees. It is an image well known in the lake architecture, with unexpected results along history. The museum intends to be a revitalization programme, designated to resurrect the area, to restore the original image by being environmentally conscious and sustainable. Its goal is to establish a powerful visual and psychological identity in its relationship with the environment. The concept of contemporary architecture usually leads to an extravagant esthetics, to a mixed form and to a texture consisting in unusual materials. Lately, the correlation between the concept of contemporary architecture and that of sustainable architecture provoked a reevaluation of the classical style, of the trilitical structures and of the orthogonality. The adopted issue for a ‘contemporary architecture museum’ uses the classical style and the trilitical structure system in order to extrapolate the valences of the composition, of the material structure and of the space dynamics.
‘Body of water’: under the present circumstances – a flat ground without water traces, we chose an artificial mirror, placed under 0.00 level, in order to recreate the sensation of ‘between walk level’ as it is to be on a swamp ground; ‘Wood trees’: wood was used, first of all, as piles, imitating the trunks that sustain the green crown of the trees; The museum is introverted – inside city body = inside city land; The ground was cut in vertical steps to offer a vast view over the relationship /living wood – earth / as a support element. The project is an analysis of the living system; wood is regarded under the 0.00 level as a net of roots that supports the above life. Over 0.00, wood is a filling/decoration element and an inhabitant of the space as well.
The proposed building engages and interacts with the environment and with the works of art it lodges. The dynamic character of the reflection process and of the integrating sidewalk completes the static character of the composition. At 0.00 level, the section is processed in order to assure the passage between the built area and the environment. We proposed wood resin and root panels / an innovative solution for milled panels to solve the slope ground. It is an ambiguous boundary between the forest and the museum, between the city body and the forest trapped inside. Everything is on a small scale (there is only little left from the old wood area) – more like a symbolic scale. It’s like a ‘box in box system’ – an introverted architectural system: art enclosed in the museum body, enclosed in the city. The ambiguous boundary is stressed by the multiple reflections. The idea of reflection, the mirroring effect and the dynamic passage represent the spine bone of the route.
About the challenge/the conventional relationship between the observed and the observer.
The visual impact is extremely speculated through mnemo-technical perspectives, by progressive dynamics, constantly ascending and descending. Above the ground, the museum preserves sidewalks that cross, wrap and escalate, having as a central perspective point the water body situated at 6.20 m level. Outside inside out – is a maximum exploited concept, implemented through sidewalks and constantly using the concept of reflection. A particular stress is laid on the suspended bridge, compositionally centered, using the existing park’s path. Due to the location, we proposed a suspended bridge over the lobby, following the old route of one of the park alley. The image of the wood bridge ‘English style / passing bridge’ is the classic expression of the relationship wood-water in architecture, expression that fully exploits the principle of the composition, reflection, passage, route. The classical architecture in wood stresses the text dynamics, allows using piles as tree trunks. Wood architecture is used differently, in a formal classic way with dynamic accents (the passage bridge) while it becomes contemporary if speaking about the technical solutions and when referring to the theoretically concept of ‘sustainability and ecology’. Under the present circumstances, the cadence of the space is the foundation for flexibility, natural dispersed light, ventilation, independent architectural functions and access ways.
Challenge: the form of site determined a U form reception hall, hence the fork axial composition; The access is peripheral, round way and backwards passing under porticoes at –6.00 m level; The idea of inside city determined a multilevel composition on a vertical scale – in order to get a stressed dynamics, the symmetries were broken on vertical axis. The accentuated symmetries on the same axis intend to stress the valences of the wood texture through repeatability. At the same time, the central axis was accentuated through a negative effect. In vertical area, the central axis is built and it is not circulated till +4.00 m by the artificial ‘body of water’. Placing the mirror into the middle provokes through symmetry the concentration of the reflection up to the reversion of the image. The symmetry is the main procedure to extrapolate the use of wood. The reflection determines a double perception and makes double the area of the texture perceived. The bridge links the two sides, it forces the perception and the reflection into the water.
The shape of the location determines a U form / the classical composition of the fork spins the composition. The main axis becomes on vertical scale a mere perception artifice and it is treated in negative by reverting the construction. The whole in the ground becomes a show through inversion. ‘Body of water’ – the pillars imitate the natural model of the trees in a regular succession and further on organic at the ground level. The pillars become ‘artificial trees’ filling up the space as light pillars. At 0.00 level, the function of the museum interferes with the necessities of the city: coffee shops, restaurants. The proposed canvas made out of treated wood blades is a vertical signal through sound/vibration a, as well. The multiple faces and the shade are mainly used through vast areas exposed to the visitor.
Multiple perspectives: The extrapolation of the descending slopes, the visualization the relationship of built in – natural materials. One of the bodies is integrated into the environment (the covering level corresponds to the ground level). The deck type covering is intended to be sidewalk. The space is both transitional within vague limits and introverted, exploiting the dynamic perspectives.
Living wood – plantation type coverings fully use wood image, correspondences between processed wood and living trunks. Inner design: resting benches, reception desks, wardrobe, bar, all of them were conceived as real tree trunks, with processed surfaces. Boards of processed wood (same as for outdoor spaces) cover the auditorium hall. The sensation of soil-sculptured, buried space is enhanced. The proposal for boards is that of cut roots mixed with wood resins, following the MLW boards, on another scale.
Sculptured soil – the auditorium coverage intends to ensure a dispersed lighting, good sound and good phono absorption. The main façade is of pillar and beam type, tensed with cables. The glass is used for offering transparency to the space, an extra flat reflection and a deep perception of the wood levels of the museum. The glass in relationship with the bridge creates the sensation of a suspended bridge, in spite of the closed lobby downside. Closing bridge with glass towards the lobby is foreseen on layout 2. The relationship glass – water – inner spaces / same perception steps are intended as for indoor, having as central point the mirror and the trees in between the main steps and as a vertical accent the bridge. Indoor, perception steps are: lobby –6.00; foyer -5.20; coffee shop –2.00; passage sidewalk +0.20.