Mansilla+Tuñón Arquitectos

M9 Museum . Venice

source: m9museum . Mansilla+Tuñón Arquitectos . model photos: Fondazione di Venezia . ORCH/orsenigo_chemollo

M9 is situated in the heart of Mestre. Its strategic position requires an intervention which will act as a catalyst, optimize, and give life back to the whole area in order to transform Mestre into a modern city capable of reinventing itself as the capital of a vast metropolitan area.
Just as master perfume makers create their scents combining plant and flower essences so that by opening the bottles their fragrance is diffused and invades the area around it, projecting Acqua Veneta we have composed sixteen “bottles” to contain the exhibitions which will display in a fresh way and with transparency the radical changes which the residents of the Veneto have made possible both socially, culturally and economically in the last century. The “bottles”, with their necks open to the ground allow exchange, the entrance of people and ideas.

The “bottles” will be placed where the flow of people which pour in from various parts of the city allow it. Together they act as the market of Venice and form a square whose roof protects it from the rain and sun. The project envisages the restructuring of the other buildings in the plot to host a commercial centre. Presently the site is clearly delineated by a wall which indicated the confines of the barracks, the empty area of this, together with the other constructions and the abandoned spaces, creates the appearance of an island in the middle of the city. Although it is difficult to recognize the uses which were once designated to the spaces, walking through them the impression given is of walking through a still life. The succession of empty buildings where the mark left by those who inhabited them is tangible, gives the spaces, whose geometry and set ups are similar, a unique and individual atmosphere.
In this “island” the past has left a mark similar to that which might be seen in the display case of a collector who has conserved memories of voyages made. The sum of every element gives value and significance to the whole. The compositional strategy adopted for the project, founded on the addition of diverse and equivalent elements, is suggested by these characteristics of the place and, together, by that which constitutes the very essence of a museum.
Today, more than ever, to realise an architectural work is the same as projecting a piece of the city. The buildings are not only containers of activity, but, above all, are wrappings for social life in the way in which they demarcate and give form to public space. Also the building planned by us intends to offer the city and its inhabitants a place where they can meet, discuss, play, learn and weave human relations.
The construction has a clearly recognisable outline which evokes the form of a silo, implying a content (art) and a functionality (to be an active part of social life). Opting for an industrial form was deliberate in order to render homage to the character of the city and to give to the large dimensions of the construction a familiar aspect, in harmony with the pre-existing spaces which surround it.
The interior of the new building is characterised by a grouping of elements which function together, so that the small scale of the single parts and that of the whole are perceived simultaneously. It is a flexible system which can be used as a whole or in its single parts, as each zone is characterised by spaces, light, orientation, a view which consents autonomous use.
Taking into account the fact that dynamic management in a museum is more important than its dimensions, the project envisages a building with reduced closed areas and focuses on clarity rather than monotony; it is articulated in a plan dedicated to temporary exhibitions and a part for the permanent collection. The ground floor is open for the use of the city’s residents and can hold exhibitions outside and various cultural activities. The arcaded square allows the movement of people and functions as an urban stage for various activities tied to the museum programme and the commercial centre.
History is not only preserved in the form of the buildings, but also in the traces left by the lives of those who inhabited them. For this reason in considering the issue of the ex-barracks the project has taken its path from the “archaeology” of the life led there, whose marks, like those of the wallpaper, have been taken as a starting point for the shaping of the new commercial centre.

Mansilla+Tuñón Arquitectos

Design team
Luis M. Mansilla
Emilio Tuñón

Matilde Peralta del Amo
Jesús Vassallo
Javier González Galán
M. José Castillón Espert
Nuria Martínez Salas


J.G Asociados
Sancho Páramo Cerqueira


Gogaite S.L.

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