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New Taipei City Museum
November 22nd, 2011

New Taipei City Museum Competition
Summer 2011

Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan

Principals in Charge: R. el-Khoury and R. Levit

Team: Zachariah Glennon, Faisel Bashir, Nariman Mousavi, Clarissa Nam, Lindsay Hochman

We propose a vertical museum to minimize building footprint and maximize park surface. The verticality complements the museum experience with spectacular views of the rivers and the city. It also enhances the iconic character and visibility of the museum: a totem-like pile of outdoor terraces and interior environments on one side; a vertical extension of the park in stacked gardens on the other. We orient and design the Art Tower to optimize environmental performance: the southern face is shield-like, a vertical living surface that exploits and modulates sunlight; the northern side is designed to capture air and light while accommodating shaded areas for public occupation. We subtract wedge-like volumes form the packed mass in order to enable overhead lighting in all north-facing galleries and enhance cross ventilation across the building mass through the administration and support spaces.

We link the stacked North Galleries and other public programs by an enfilade of extra-tall South Galleries ascending diagonally across the entire width of the building on the south side. The South Galleries accommodate extra-large works and perform as social condensers along the museum main spatial and organizational axis. Visitors may take a variety of paths in visiting the exhibitions and permanent collection. They can reach specific destinations directly via elevators or by ascending the Grand Cascade of South Galleries via escalators. They can meander in and out exhibits, moving back and forth between the North and South galleries in a more circuitous promenade. We provide the children’s museum with it’s own entrance and circulation route. We treat is as a semi-autonomous entity within the larger building while retaining a capacity for its fuller integration should the building be reprogrammed.

We design the galleries for a most generous and environmentally favorable presentation of art. All galleries have access to daylight—with an option of totally blocking sunlight by means of an operable screen. All galleries are environmentally controlled for optimal temperature and humidity. The South Galleries are oversized and aligned in a spatial continuum. The North Galleries are individuated for curated experiences. A typical visit would have the museum-goers discover the North Galleries on the side of the enfilade of tall galleries and then return to resume their ascent or descent along the Grand Cascade. The promenade traverses a variety of public amenities where visitors could shop, explore the book collection or linger for a meal with spectacular views of the city and park.