Our proposal for MALI’s new wing in Lima, Peru was built on two pillars: to create a public space intermediate to the park, the museum and the city; and restore the dignity of the current building.
The first was done by the book, as requested by the brief itself, we set ourselves to try to create a space that was truly public, common ground for all. It is usual in Latin countries, for various reasons, to have parks gated, and open during only certain hours of the day, and we wanted to respect that without leaving out the possibility of a more accessible space. To propose a plaza of good quality we sought out different ambiances to it, amplifying the possibilities of its appropriation.
For the second we decided to remove the building’s current internal program and relocate it to the new wing. Opening up its internal space by removing the divisions and classrooms, making possible the beautiful marble floors, with the iron cast columns and high ceiling take back its place in the center stage. This combination, and even the fact that it is a 1872 Exhibition Palace, with an Italianate façade in historical Lima, made up for the perfect space for a contemporary art museum: contiguous and flexible, allowing multiple configurations, entrances and interpretations. We also propose the construction of a mezzanine to take better advantage of its internal height.
The New Wing is a simple and compact linear space, which takes into account the fact that maximum flexibility is only possible within a strict order. It is a contemporary arrangement which takes the composition of the Exhibition Palace as features. It is at once heavy and light, opaque yet transparent.
Its design on the three levels results from the subtraction of spaces, creating courtyards with natural light and ventilation that connect to the City and immediate surroundings. Views of the Park and the Palace make their way into the building through vertical openings similar in rhythm to the interior structural pillars. Space, illumination, views and structure all exchange attributes.
The courtyards—Patios—are defined by stone walls and glass facades in opaque windows with translucent colored glass. The color pattern of the of the facade glass units are those used in the traditional Peruvian blankets.