Bauhaus Museum, Dessau

Bauhaus museum in Dessau, competition.

Finalist project

(With Luca Porqueddu).

The main objective of the proposed project is to combine architectural quality, an innovative model of the museum typology and an appropriate and original response to the demands of the functional program.
The Bauhaus, born in a small town in the german province, owes its worldwide spread to its radically innovative ideas in the field of didactic work, architecture, design, and more generally of the interdisciplinary nature of his teachings: this innovative spirit has guided us in the design.
Although his imminent death is repeatedly announced by artists and intellectuals, the museum seems to have become an essential “object” for the economic and cultural horizon of the programs in the cities around the world, from the smallest ones to the metropolis. In a sense they have always been a vantage point from which to peer into the future outcome of the architectural trends. Despite since several decades there has been a lot of experimentation, despite there has been a definitive shift from a strictly typological approach (late nineteenth century), it is easy to observe that invariants linger in all latitudes, reducing the most diverse examples of museum to families, to more or less canonized types.
Currently, in the iperconsumo museums, although it is clear and tangible the architects’ signature strength, a growing role in decision-making seems to be covered by the curators and by those who hold institutional roles: they instruct the real museum’s agendas, decide its architectural features, quality of space, incidence in the urban context and of course its cultural program.
Caught in the grips between economic needs and political strategies, new museums tend to exaggerate their architectural output, oscillating frequently from neutral and indifferent boxes to egomonsters buildings. Within this ambivalence, the quality that is often lacking, but that is crucial for a new conception museum, is the exhibition space’s capability to be a place where the cultural production can be experienced and where it can critically be re-elaborated. The initial goal of Gropius in Weimar was to reduce up to eliminate the distances between arts and crafts, and more generally, between artists and craftsmen. In the same way, our proposal aims to overcome differences, to bring to an unitary discourse the relations city- building, indoor- outdoor spaces, distribution- functional program, technological solution- aesthetic output, collection- visitor, etc…
We see the museum of the Bauhaus as an opportunity for integration not only between different cultures and disciplines, but also among the building’s rooms and the city’s rooms.
The initial step was to imagine the usage and spatial program provided by the brief as a sort of ruled paper, a map, from which to generate the spaces of the museum. We considered the areas of each environment and we turned them into a square, simple and elementary geometric form but also compositionally fruitful, in every sense. So we assembled this abacus of squares to obtain a unitary configuration, a large rectangle with sides 100×50 m. It contains all the functional families, with the prescribed degrees of proximity, adjacency and influence. The building candidates itself primarily as a unified and recognizable presence, simple but with an internal controlled complexity. An easily identifiable urban fact. The spaces’ aggregation was conducted so that the out-and-out distibution factor was reduced almost to zero. In this concept lies the proposal’s typological innovation: there are no hallways, stairs, ramps, lifts; all the environments-squares share their sides with other environments that may be similar (definitely in shape), but may vary in the use, in the proportions, in the tectonic nature, in light or exposition.
It’s a rational, logic assembly, but extremely open-use and flexible, rigorous but lively. The building, therefore, is arranged on a single level.