INHOTIM ”Inhotim is a unique site that offers a broad ensemble of art works, displayed outdoors as well as in both temporary and permanent galleries, all located inside a Botanical Garden of extraordinary beauty. The landscaping was originally inspired by famed architect and landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994), and rare plant species are distributed in an esthetically pleasing manner throughout an estate which also sports five lakes and a preserved forest area.
Instituto Inhotim, decreed a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest, offers, in addition to these areas of artistic enjoyment and entertainment - which make it stand out among similar institutions - develops environmental research work, educational actions and an important program of social inclusion and citizenship for the local population.” (www.inhotim.org.br)
LOCATION Miguel Rio Branco Gallery is located at the confluence of two roads, on a steepy slope surrounded by a natural forest on both sides. The building occupies a void in the forest, articulating different levels of the existing site. PROGRAM The building is organized in three levels, with access through the intermediate level, which houses a covered plaza and support facilities - sanitaries and cafeteria. From this level, stairs and lift allow access to an exhibition space downstairs, defined by a square room formed of 11.7 and 11.7 meters by 7 meters height. This room is visually integrated with the entrance level through a transparent plan that allows crossed views through the room. From the entrance level another staircase leads to to the upper floor, housed in a closed corten box, with large flexible exhibition spaces, amplifying the curatorial possibilities while accommodating a large variety of rooms. While the inferior room provides a visual interaction with the surrounding landscape through the transparency of its upper glass panels, the upper rooms define an introspective ambience, with clear differentiation from the outside environment. Zenital openings were conceived, providing indirect natural light in three of the four sides of the main room. The staircase also has natural light, reinforcing its role as a transitional space with a strong public character.
Complete the functional spaces loading and unloading area with access to upper floor, central utility room, water reservoir, air conditioning rooms, pump house and cleaning supplies.
SHAPE AND CONSTRUCTION Motivated by an image presented by the artist – a huge stone inserted in the natural landscape of the park - the main built element floats on the terrain as an abstract steel volume, without architectural attributes, resting over the landscape like a carved stone. In order to reach this image, the terrain was redesigned, concealing the inferior room, that is carved on the site and avoids the definition of a built volume, while organizing the main entrance area as a void.
In order to enhance the mineral character of the main block, as suggested by the artist, its construction uses steel structure with steel seals with natural patina finish as the external walls. The patina favors subtle variations in color and texture of the surfaces of the main volume, marked by time and weather. To reinforce this characteristic, the project sought to minimize the presence of traditional architectural attributes, such as doors, windows, walls, roofs, dealing with the deliberate abstraction of the built element and manipulating the volume with subtle deformations defined by the various inclinations of the exterior steel seals.