On a site that faces the sea, on the shore of the city of Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, the construction of a new cultural program of significance is proposed for the city. It allows us to imagine a new centrality, enforcing the presence of a landmark onto more residential areas, laying out in this way the metropolitan consolidation of Mar del Plata. The proposal, in this sense, claims attention throughout a building of strong public character, with a large dry pier that extends itself to the sea, and a built volume of nude and robust material aspect that is the frame of an access and exhibition square.
The museum appears as rocks from a jetty that faces the sea and watches the city from a distance. The scale of the project results from a vision of the city itself, its size, its vitality, and of the effort made to position itself as a city with cultural proposals of international level. The urban and natural surroundings most importantly, require us to think the new Museum with the scale of a big metropolis.
With this end we thought of a museum that would be able to contain art exhibitions of great prestige, and in function of this, the decision to maximize the exhibitory space and to make it as spacious, luminous and flexible as possible was of central importance; creating a space that in its configuration offers a special riches that allows the building to be considered a clear reference in the cultural activity of the entire city and its surroundings.
The exhibition rooms were located on a top floor so as to take advantage of the great spatiality that they count with, and the possibility of zenithal illumination, configuring a great diaphanous volume as a contemporary area of exhibition. In its possibility to expand, the museum proposes a separation of its use typology, maintaining on the top floor the exhibitory rooms with zenithal illumination for visual arts exhibitions, and on the ground floor, the incorporation of large flexible rooms, prepared for massive shows with differenced accesses from the exterior, or smaller isolated rooms for different audiovisual displays.
The part of the program that is not exhibitory is located on the ground floor, in direct relation with the sidewalk, the accesses, the pedestrian and neighborhood scale of its environment. This decision allows thinking of an open and translucent ground floor in function of the program that it holds, while the top floor is predominantly solid.
This search of a great interior spatiality and a dominant volume concept from the outside is contrasted with the idea of maximum flexibility and rationality of a cellular building; a system of structural and independent modules that guarantees that each one of these is a whole in itself, allowing the building to be inaugurated with only 2/7 of the total buildable area. A building of cellular growth and open functional structure that provides great flexibility to the developer since it counts with great possibilities of completion, even allowing variations on the planning of building stages, being able to replace these with others of a different character.
Each one of these modules belongs to each of the exhibitory rooms of the first stage. Four cubic modules of raw concrete structure and enclosure configure each one of the cells. A central module with the same spatial treatment that acts as a distributor and as a central space to which all the volumes open themselves, allows a maximum configuration of exhibition assembly, in which an entire exhibition can be easily organized, occupying all of the rooms. This “panoptical” space becomes a central component of the project, since it gives place to a multiplication of the functional and spatial relations, allowing conceiving the exhibitory room area as a unique large space.
Structurally and constructively independent, these concrete bodies take advantage of the inertia that the solid and blind surfaces of the exhibitory rooms generate, so as to produce projections and large lintels defining a structural system of few supporting partition walls, reinforcing the idea of the free and public ground floor that opens itself to the city. This constructive decision results in a very low maintenance in time and in the life of the building. The interstitial spaces between the volumes are capitalized as an exhibitory area with an unexpected environmental quality, since they provide visuals to the exterior through a system of metallic walkways and roofs and glass surfaces towards the outside. These interstitial circulations provide the rooms and spaces with a great deepness.
The project lays out a direct intervention over the shore as a continuation of the characteristics of a public square, emphasizing its perspective as a position of urban landmark.
The spatiality, flexibility and quality in the way in which contemporary art is exposed are achieved by a modular system of large boxes of a strong image and functionality.