We envisioned The new Mali Contemporary Art Museum as a place to welcome the community and the visitors to participate and experience art, architecture and nature at once.
The new museum is designed to respect the surrounding area and minimize its impact on the historic existing museum. We achieved this by the use of a gentle landscape intervention, a simple “slit”, formally inspired by Lucio Fontana’s minimal series of slashes paintings. Taking inspiration from the courtyard of the existing museum, our design seeks to create a protected “screened in” place of assembly. However, instead of being wrapped by a building, our courtyard is first carved in the earth, then open to the city and to the park, becoming the gateway to the new underground museum.
By ramping down a fully accessible linear plaza, and situating the new contemporary wing of the museum along it, opposite the existing museum, we guarantee a continuous and indispensable visual connection between the new and the old museum.
A newly planted forest of trees on top of the new museum creates a green filter that provides both shade from the solar rays as well as acoustical screening for the “linear plaza” from the city’s noisy streets.
Once inside, the simplicity gives way to a complex, flexible and multi-leveled space, where functions relate visually and physically to each other and most importantly to the existing historic building.
The North-East orientation of the building’s solely exposed, and glazed portion, is designed to take full advantage of the early morning beneficial solar radiation, while screening it from both the mid-day strong solar impact and the end of the day horizontal sun rays. The Metro entry is moved inside the newly created forest portion of park at west of the new museum, therefore allowing for a more gentle and pleasant entry gate to the subway and at the same time a wider and calmer entryway to our ramped plaza.