der Nachthimmel

Location: Dessau, Germany

Use: Exhibition / Educational

Date: Concept Design -  2015

Area: 45,0000 sq.ft

Status: Competition Entry for Bauhaus museum Dessau

Should museums be mute canvases?

Should they themselves be performances?

Or should they aid the art they house to do so?

The beginnings of our design lay in these questions. We wanted to create a design that dissolves into its surroundings; an edgeless, ethereal entity that is a homogeneous part of the existing urban context of the park. A design that treads lightly on the earth that it is placed on and respects its surroundings as well as the art it houses. And all of this it does while maintaining its unique identity.


A certain darkness is required to see the stars.

We conceived our exhibition spaces as the night sky, where the true radiance of the stars is expressed and enjoyed; a canvas whose beauty lies in portraying the painted subject and also being considered for its own merit.



The Museum and the Bauhaus Principle.

• Our design celebrates the journey of openness to enclosed spaces and encourages public engagement. As you head towards the museum, one gets to first experience the pulsating life of the park, enhanced now with a café and some retail therapy.

• The museum comprises of a single mass of a gallery on the first floor, restricting all the other served areas at a lower level for easy public movement.

• Layers of black metal mesh screens reduce the structure’s transparency towards the centre, creating a black background for the exhibition spaces which we call ‘The night sky’

• The forms of every element and space in the building are derived purely from their function. The design thus follows modernism in its true sense.

• Sustainable architecture is more than a landmark in our design. It is a place which encourages visitors and the community to meet in art and design - modern design.

• The façade of the building is conceived as multiple screens which form protective layers and which intensify depending on the hierarchy of spaces

• The museum roof slopes down following a double storeyed gallery.

• Linear screens follow the form of the trees foliage of the existing trees on site as a direct response to site context instead of cutting them down. This also gives the museum a dynamic sculptural form.

• All exhibition spaces (including temporary and permanent exhibitions) are single common uninterrupted spaces, making them flexible to adapt to desired exhibition requirements and themes.

• The roof of the exhibition area extends and covers the strip of internal circulation also.



The urban context and historic background

We have carefully crafted the journey of an art enthusiast from the park to the museum. As one wanders towards the museum, screens unfold the various museum spaces one after the other making the transition from the park to the museum a subtle and an enjoyable one.

• The screens also act as buffers that help cut down the noise and sights of the busy streets and trams, ensuring privacy.

• As part of the urban culture, the city dwellers use the site presently to bask in the sun during winters. Our design gives back this space to the city in the form of stepped terraces, freely accessible to all.

• Bikes can be taken through the visitors’ zone towards the roadside connecting the museum and the city. It encourages people to flow within a new cultural core

• The museum building maintains transparency at the ground floor level retaining the visual axis between the town hall junction and the park.

• The structure softly dissolves into the historic city fabric becoming a homogeneous whole.

• The roof is independently floated by screens which dip down towards the south creating a water spout connecting to the fountain, Talk of the Town which is of importance to the city’s history.


How do we respond to the climate?

• The facade of the museum is envisaged as an ensemble of multiple layers of screens which act as thermal insulators and help in regulating and creating spaces having varying intensities of light and heat. They are as follows:

o Visitors’/Citizens’ zone (open spaces)

o Service corridors/cores (Semi open spaces)

o Internal circulation (Partly enclosed spaces)

o Main served areas - Visitor controlled zone(enclosed spaces)

• The roof is inclined with an aim of deriving maximum exposure of the structure to sun.

• Natural light and ventilation is enjoyed by all the common spaces and served areas except exhibition spaces.

• Common roofing system helps in rain water harvesting


How cost efficient is our design?

• Industrial construction technology is adapted for an economical structural system.

• Any experiments related to construction technology or materials are avoided to keep the cost minimum.

• Natural light and ventilation is provided for all the non-exhibition spaces bringing down the sustenance of the museum drastically.

• Elongated screens help in creating a wind tunnel effect in between stretches serving as natural ventilation during summer.



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