Studio Gang conceives the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts as a blossoming stem
by STIRworldMay 06, 2023
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Jincy IypePublished on : Apr 25, 2023
The architecture of entrances rightly empowers the building they perform as portals to—ranging from ornate cathedral doors with gold inlays to a hole in the wall, entrances mark a threshold into spaces and ensuing behaviours. This is an architectural element of visual conjuncture that is perhaps inadvertently overlooked, despite carrying a substantial purpose of shifting perspectives, greeting and welcoming, embodying security, and at the onset, setting a structure’s first impression.
Entries also act as visual, aesthetical, and physical mediators between interior and exterior spaces—it is crucial to regard them as the moment of transition and as a feature that protects the spaces inside from outside contamination—as the standard for the entire building, granting meaning as its preface.
Correspondingly, Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind has expanded the Danish Jewish Museum in Denmark with a new, more visible, and 'better' entrance design in expression and being. Setting a seemly preamble for the existing museum's conspicuous interiors designed by Studio Libeskind, the new entrance presents itself as a jagged, intersecting spectacle in sturdy grey granite, rising from the existing space in front of the museum’s architecture that finds residence in the Royal Library Garden in the heart of Copenhagen.
Subtle and soulful, the geometric addition secures improved access while finalising Libeskind’s edifice in essence, which began with the foundation of the museum in 2004.
According to the design team, the new entrance also aims to add to the 'emotional experience' of the museum—the existing architecture of the Danish Jewish Museum bases itself on the story of "the flight and rescue of the Danish Jews in October 1943. As such, the architecture tells a strong story. It is a visual and physical experience with tilted angles on both the floor and the walls,” shares Libeskind.
Although the Danish museums re-opened in April, the Danish Jewish Museum stayed closed, as it was in the process of taking down its existing exhibitions, in preparation for the building of the museum’s new access. The Museum is situated in The Royal Library’s old buildings with entrances from the Library Garden, with brick vaults forming the ceiling over Libeskind’s angelic wooden interior, originating all the way back to the Danish King Christian 4. (1577-1648). In order to protect the museum’s objects from accumulating dust caused by the building’s construction processes, they are now temporarily in storage and given the necessary preservatory attention.
The new entrance’s concept is an extension of the museum’s design language of pacific intersecting planes, one of which forms the sloped floor of the existing entrance plaza. The insertion adds a 'vertical dimension' with two obliquely inclined walls that intersect to articulate the shape of the entrance, preparing visitors for the experience of the museum itself, with its floor and walls made of the same light grey granite stone.
"Of course, it felt a bit strange to pack down the museum when everyone else was opening up. But it has been a long and exciting process to get to this phase of actually building. It is so exciting that we now have started the build,” says Janus Møller Jensen, the Museum Director.
The dramatically inclined walls of the museum's interior design meet a worthy companion in the form of its jagged grey entrance, sharing more visibility to the museum, and aiming to become a new attraction in the heart of Copenhagen, in the unique historical frame set by the Royal Library Garden. The tangible contemporary architecture also signals a new era for the museum working towards making Danish Jewish History ‘more visible, accessible, and relevant today.’
In connection with the work done on the entrance, the museum has worked on a new strategy and is now working on entirely new exhibitions and experiences in the existing unique architecture. In this way, the new entrance initiates a new time for the museum and for the storytelling around Danish Jewish History, also marking the 400 centenarians for the arrival of Jews to Denmark, according to the design team.
Think of Libeskind's radical design for the widely regarded Jewish Museum in Berlin, where he masterfully crafted spaces, facades, and interiors, from the obvious to the smallest detail, to be representational of life for members of the Jewish community before, during, and after the Holocaust—Its entrance itself essays a story, setting the tone for the transitional, emotion-laden insides of the museum, functioning as a combination of historical aspects, architectural tales, as well as the experienced human psyche. In Libeskind's latest endeavour, the simple addition to an existing structure performs to enhance the experience of the building itself, jagged, modern, and emblematic. At a sociocultural level, the entrance also makes a statement about history through currently accepted styles of architecture, to become representational of the museum's ethos as well as its embodied stories.
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