Here’s a closer look at REX’s concept for “Yin Yang”:
MUNCH MUSEUM AND STENERSEN MUSEUM COLLECTIONS
CLIENT HAV Eiendom, Oslo Kommune
PROGRAM Art museum housing the Munch and Stenersen Collections, self-produced exhibitions, and travelling exhibitions
AREA 16,585 m² (178,520 sf)
PROJECT COST NA
STATUS Limited competition, second prize, 2009
KEY PERSONNEL Lee Altman, Haviland Argo, Gabrielle Brainard,Keith Burns, Alex Diez, Jeffrey Franklin, Javier Haddad, DavidMenicovich, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Jacob Reidel
CONSULTANTS José Miguel Iribas, Lord, Magnusson Klemencic, Transsolar
Oslo recently celebrated the opening of its world-acclaimed OperaHouse, an important step in the city’s commitment to developingBjørvika and to unifying Oslo’s eastern and western centres. With fourmore significant projects under development within the district—OsloCentral Station, the Barcode, the Deichman Axis and the Munch Area—Oslomust be wary of overwhelming Bjørvika with too many strong visuallandmarks. Such a constellation would undermine the Opera’siconographic power, and dilute the identity of the city as a whole.
Strategy 1: By embracing a new form of galleryflexibility, REX’s proposal for the new Munch Museum avoids this trap.Yin Yang offers complete flexibility—without increasing operationalcosts—by providing built-in tools. The galleries are arranged into anarray of eight, distinct typologies, each with its own proportions,materiality, lighting, circulation and form of flexibility. While amuseum with a single gallery type requires great expense to transformitself, the array’s range of galleries guarantees curatorial freedomregardless of budgetary constraints. It can accommodate a spectrum ofcuratorial visions and can be reconfigured, both with no futureadditional cost.
Challenge 2: The new Munch Museum requires a flexiblecirculation sequence capable of individually or simultaneouslypresenting the museum’s own collections, self-produced exhibitions andtravelling exhibitions. The classic museum procession is a lobby thatbegins and ends a linear loop of galleries. This compulsory circulationcauses major curatorial and operational problems for the institutionsit organizes: they must use all their galleries at once and cannoteasily subdivide their space for simultaneous shows. Institutions withthis sequence have to continuously “feed the beast,” exhibitingblockbuster after blockbuster, and must support staffs capable ofmanaging shows this size.
Strategy 2: The REX proposal for the new Munch Museumwraps all un-ticketed spaces into a public “ring” around the galleries.Rather than imposing a fixed procession on curators and patrons, thisorganization provides independent access to each gallery, or aprocession through any plausible combination or permutation ofgalleries. The public ring—including shops, lecture hall, auditorium,café, restaurant, education spaces and sponsors lounges—doubles as themain circulation for the galleries, fostering new, dynamicrelationships between the two and increasing area efficiency.
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