Eduardo Souto de Moura

M9 Museum . Venice

source: m9museum . Eduardo Souto de Moura  . model photos: Fondazione di Venezia . ORCH/orsenigo_chemollo

The M9 project and the reconversion of the former convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie into a commercial centre conserves the facades and the most important parts of the structure of the existing buildings and envisages the demolition of only a few divisor walls. The strategy adopted is to insert the access points (stairs and lifts) into the narrower body, maintaining free that of the wider one for the shops. In order that the commercial centre doesn’t have blind corridors and that conditions are optimum for sales, the escalators are positioned in a way to oblige the public to walk through the entire length of the floor to go up or down.

For the new museum a patio typology has been selected, analogous to that of the annexed former convent entailing a continuous circulation. The patio can also be used as an external extension of the rooms on the ground floor and in particular of the cafeteria. The volume of the building is in proportion to that of the pre-existing ones which surround it, both those buildings of quality (such as the former convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie) or anonymous buildings. Also in this case the city is a compact entity and again, in this case, a selective or moralistic point of view is not the most appropriate one to approach an urban project: as Fernando Pessoa said, “it is enough to exist to have a reason for being”.
The museum is composed of a basement floor, a ground floor, a further two floors and an ultimate rear floor, invisible from any part of the city or from the internal patio. To allow the roof level of the new construction to fit into the surrounding area was one of our principle objectives, because we are firm in the belief that the city is constructed in continuity, following a rule; exceptions are suitable for monuments and this is not the case.
The materials which are planned for the exterior of the building are bricks, glass and exposed bushhammered cement for the service entrance. This exterior “skin” is supported by a construction of mixed reinforced cement and steel, itself supported by structural walls. Some bricks will be reused from the demolished buildings and some window frames will be recovered, not for ecological reasons but rather to recreate the atmosphere of a complex whose proportions and whose materials deserve being protected. The pretend walls and windows will create a scene, a readymade which renders functional to a museum that which is banal and anonymous.
The quotation of a “text” which is about to disappear falls into our way of understanding architecture as continuity.
Glass is present above all in the ground floor, where it creates a gradual transparency between road, museum and patio. The absence of a structure with a façade and the anti-glare glass attribute a permeability to the spaces possible only in an edifice of the 21st century.
The museum has four entrances: a service entrance from Via Pascoli, where a truck can turn around in one manoeuvre; a small crossing between the commercial square Corte Legrenzi and the access patio at Museum atrium; a lateral entrance, with an enormous letter in marble visible from Via Poerio, which leads to the aforesaid atrium by crossing a garden (connected to that of the church) and the Museum shops. The main entrance, situated between the church and the commercial centre is indicated by a large symbol in marble; as it is extremely visible and next to the commercial centre, it will facilitate visits to the Museum.
Clear routes will develop with continuity from the atrium by means of escalators which lead to the upper floor, dedicated to temporary exhibitions. From this last floor the direction of movement will change and the visitor will peruse the permanent collection by descending from floor to floor. In order to avoid a mechanical feeling to the visit, we have inserted small spaces for pause, illuminated by natural light.
The exhibitive spaces for the permanent collection have only a few supporting walls; in this way the spaces can be arranged according to requirements. The areas for the temporary exhibits receive natural light from the roof, whilst a separate space with a net height of almost seven metres and controllable light can be used for events or situations which require these conditions.
This new building, tied to the former convent of the Grazie, will not be a new “icon” of contemporary architecture. Circumstances have changed and in Greek crisis means change. Change in this moment in Venice-Mestre, as in Europe, means being more “natural”, more adjusted, more silent because, as the Portuguese poet Herberto Helder said “it is with silence that voices are made”.

Souto Moura Arquitectos

Design team
Eduardo Souto de Moura

André Campos
Ana Patrícia Santos


0 comentarios :

Publicar un comentario