Fundação Oriente Museum

Fundação Oriente Museum

Architect
Carrilho da Graça arquitectos
Location
Lisbon, Portugal
Project Year
2008
Category
Museums
© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Fundação Oriente Museum

Carrilho da Graça arquitectos as Architects

The Temple of Muses Creating a museum is a single opportunity to juxtapose the substantive nature of space and the intangible nature of culture and knowledge. It also represents an opportunity to think again about one of the paradigmatic questions of architecture: the architectonic container as a neutral, silent and practically non-existent support that allows the affirmation and prominence of its content versus the architectural work per se, its contents being almost a pretext for proudly exhibiting itself. As for the objective to be achieved in the new Oriente Foundation Museum, the museum should be housed in the Edifício Pedro Álvares Cabral, a former port building warehouse dating back to the early 1940’s, designed by the architect João Simões Antunes, and witch has two low-relief panels by the Portuguese sculptor Barata Feyo on the blind surfaces of north facing elevations, so as to include a valuable collection devoted to Asia in its multiple aspects: historical, social, ethnological, anthropological, archaeological and artistic. A challenging intervention As soon as we were approached for designing the Museum and its public spaces, we were immediately faced with a challenge: the building was already undergoing a renovation. Given this situation, it was agreed with the Oriente Foundation and the architect Rui Francisco, responsible for the previous renovation, that a deeper study should be undertaken in order to harmonize the architectural identity of the building with its new function as a museum. For the permanent collection display, we designed glass showcases that incorporated the existing square columns, turning them into frames. These showcases also absorb the structural reinforcement devices that were used to replace some of the pillars, avoiding thus the lowering of the ceiling height. With their various configurations, and in an ambiance dominated by black ceilings and gray floors, they function as positive elements in space, bright “islands” showing their contents, providing a graphic support for information and ambiance lighting in the rooms.

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