Our vision for the New Taipei Art Museum is to go beyond the idea of a building by integrating this traditional idea into the wider concept of a living ecosystem, a coral reef. This way, we aim to introduce some of the most important social, educational and aesthetical values typical of our encounter with nature into the realm of a cultural infrastructure.
The project consists in a massive half buried element that works as a container of water. Inside this structure there are three partially submerged and intercommunicated trios of buildings which host most of the program of the museum. Inside the water, the intricate geometry of the submerged buildings will work as a skeletal structure to build up a coral reef over time.
Outside, a series of activities for the whole family are proposed in order to take advantage of this unique environment: Floating restaurants, stages for concerts and theater, a small beach club, a running circuit…
Coral reefs are living ecosystems with unique formal and chromatic qualities and inherent tectonic and environmental qualities: they absorb CO2 to convert it into CaCO3 that they use to construct their inner structures. At the same time, coral is a very vulnerable organism, highly dependent on the overall conditions of the ecosystem it is integrated into. This double condition of the coral as both exuberant and vulnerable epitomizes the idea of nature as something precious and enjoyable that needs our care. The beauty of this architecture relies therefore in a deep and unique commitment with sustainability, and besides being highly enjoyable it will symbolize and celebrate the capacity of being able to maintain such a vulnerable thing, ennobling its promoters and the wider society as their funders. The integration of an educational and aesthetical idea like this into a social environment and a cultural institution such as the museum is one of the aims of this proposal.
This way, the involvement happens through the depth and richness of the occupier’s engagement with the world, and in the perspective that the occupier can find on this experience through sharing it with friends, family, artists and as part of a wider community. The inhabitant will experience elements of a new cultural dimension expressed through a unique living form of architecture. This is a concept that allows the building to be in a constant state of flux forming a relationship between structure and natural living ecosystem’s.
Inside the buildings, the museum is organized through a core of circulation in the intersection of every building trio. Floor slabs respond to the spatial requirements of the museum in plan and its limits do not correspond to the buildings enclosure. Instead, the fractal-like geometry of intersecting ellipsoids that constitute the buildings enclosure generates a varied series of spatial situations by its relation with the floors and the voids and with the ubiquitous visual connections with the submerged ecosystem. The fractal-like enclosure in its relation to the floor generates a spatial sequence that range from the monumental scale to the most intimate. This spatial richness will allow a great deal of flexibility and intensity when exposing art or undertaking any of the activities proposed; combining generous, homogeneous and organized spaces with a series of smaller and more specific spaces where the aesthetic encounter or the activity can be highly customized. Through this collection of cavities the whole building opens itself to a unique landscape that connects the museum artistic experience to the social and environmental experience of the exterior.
The big thermal inertia of the water reduces drastically the energy requirements for heating and cooling of the building. Some of the structures of the building emerge generously from the water making possible to cross ventilate the clusters of buildings and the whole structure, and to take advantage of the thermal chimney effect in summer and greenhouse effect in summer.