To fulfill its vocation as a place for connecting, gathering and learning, the New Cyprus Museum generously invites the passerby to enter its transparent, shaded and green premises. Mingled in the landscape, the museum library, restaurant and shops activate the ground floor. The pedestrian paths and bike lanes flow naturally in guiding to these activities.
Transparency, light wells, shaded areas and courtyards govern the dynamics of the ground floor creating a dialogue between different moments throughout. To make this possible, the museum renounces its footprint and lifts itself up on pilotis and creates a spacious, calm and shaded environment intertwined with nature. The pilotis become part of the landscape visually blending with the tree trunks on the gentle landscape.
The museum itself mounts on its pilotis like a tree house keeping a visual scale that blends with its surrounding urban fabric. It swirls its body through the branches of the trees and hovers above them like a cloud with a gentle mothering aura cast around it. The museum space works like misty clouds with natural light flowing from the skylights and glazed walls, similar to Rothko’s square clouds.
The focus is on presenting the visitor with intelligent choices and allowing for a freedom of trajectory and proximity. With this configuration, the visitor can easily access the parts of interest. With its generous circulation, the museum invites the visitor to walk along its gently bending paths where they can encounter new objects and new settings.
The objects themselves will seem floating in a haze accentuating the cloud like space where people and objects of art drift and interact on a background of green vegetation. This creates a more intimate space between the items and the visitor. Although the museum follows a clear temporal path, the visitor can circulate rather freely heading out for more discoveries.
The clusters of objects present their themes through photographic imagery, interactive screens, various types of displays, reconstructions of sites at different scales, holographic representations of missing objects like the AgiaEirini sanctuary’s remaining statues that are currently displayed in Sweden, and exhaustive documentaries to describe themselves as cultural entities within their element.
The curving walls intensify and expand the spatial experience of the visitors. With a more flexible and expandable configuration, the museum imitates the city and breaks from the limiting ambiance of the traditional museum and opts for a more generous and free circulation, encouraging the visitor to return to the museum and spend time in whichever corner of the space they choose.
The basement is a spacious safehouse to which the landscape reaches out to create a pleasant environment for the staff throughout the day. A burried buncker full of cultural tearsures carries on its back the light weight steel structure animated by concrete structural walls. Together they produce enough strength to hold the historic weight of the museum. The joint structures makes possible the implimentation of the phasing of the construction.
The museum rolls with nature and the surrounding local environment. Its sustainability seamlessly integrates with the architecture and engineering, making best use of the natural resources and optimizing the use of passive techniques to reduce energy and water consumption. Sustainability should mostly be based on efficient use of energy supported by the naturally occurring energies that building harnesses, reducing the carbon emissions to the environment.
The lighting system mostly relies on energy efficient technologies such as LED lights which consume a lot less energy and are more durable than other types of lights. Architecturally, shaded areas, courtyards and fountains are an ancient combination to creating the most pleasant outdoor environments but not only so, they help the cross ventilation of the building itself creating cool currents within the premises of the museum. Source by Paul Kaloustian architect.
- Location: Nicoasia, Cyprus
- Architect: Paul Kaloustian architect
- Project Team:ShoghagOhannessian, Nathalie Fatte, VikenKhatcherian, Carl Gerges, Michel Nicodeme, Joanne Choueri, Jad Abdel Nour
- Status: Competition Entry
- Year: 2017
- Images: Courtesy of Paul Kaloustian architect
Article by Marco Rinaldi