“The circle . . . is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. [It] combines the concentric
and the excentric in a single form, and in equilibrium. Of the three primary
forms [triangle, square, circle], it points most clearly to the fourth dimension.”
(Vasily Kandinsky to Will Grohmann, October 12, 1930, quoted in Angelica Zander Rudenstine, The Guggenheim Museum: Paintings 1880–1945, vol. 1 [New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1976], p. 310.)
The project proposal for a new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau takes its inspiration from a geometrical approach and intuition based on one of the three primary forms, the Circle. The circle provides a flexible space with a continuous perimeter, avoiding a corner condition and thus freeing the spatial arrangement inside. We began by identifying the main parts of the program and to separate them into main groups: logistics area, workshop, administration, foyer and exhibition space. Once defined, these core program nodes allowed us to then calculate a diameter for each area, resulting in four different circles. The next step was to position these circles in a way that could allow us to work around the biref requirements, basically finding a relationship to the surrounding context of the site. We understand the immediate necessity of connecting the city with the Stadtpark and most importantly the desire of the client to connect the city from south to north through the new museum. This meant that our project proposal needed to be a building that incorporated both landscape and architecture, and had the potential of becoming a reference point within the city Dessau. This reasoning made us understand the importance of the spaces created within the various “programmatic” circles, as it was clear that the remaining ‘in-between’ space is as equally important as the main parts that surrounds it. On this residual space is where most circulation and potential gathering for additional temporary exhibitions takes place. In other words, the foyer extends to every part of the building and is not concentrated within a defined area.
Entrance to the museum is located at a strategic crossing junction between Stadtpark and Kavalierstrase, creating a public circulation
axis that connects Ratsgasse to the carpark on the west.
The overall program is distributed in two separate levels, splitting the building vertically into two distinct parts: museum services and exhibition galleries. On the ground floor level we have located the museum services such as logistics, administration, foyer (with foyer functions), as well as the semi-public areas such as the cafeteria, workshops and events space, all spaces that can be accessed outside museum hours. On the upper floor level we have located the exhibition galleries as a large space that can be divided according to the brief requirements, taking into consideration the 1,500 sqm plus 400 sqm, and 400 sqm plus 600 sqm split. Both the lower and top levels are visually connected through an exterior courtyard that also serves as a light well and a primary source for natural ventilation to reduce the building’s overall energy consumption.
The material’s selection for the project proposal are mainly three: double-layered Low-E glazing, reinforced cast-in-place concrete and reclaimed timber. The pavement finish on the ground floor level is an epoxy resin flooring system. Steel will be used for the primary structure on the ground floor with a concrete structure above.
The lighting design on the exhibition galleries is of great importance to achieve the brief requirement regarding non-dayligh exhibition spaces. We propose a lighting system based on metallic tube rails that can carry a vast number of spotlights, allowing them to slide horizontally and reposition based on the exhibition needs. A secondary lighting system is located at the ceiling height. These are mostly fixed spotlights that provide ambient illumination for non exhibition related activities or during the setting out of future exhibits. The ceiling is made of thin 5mm alluminum louvers arrayed acrossed the entire exbition galleries from north to south, distanced at 20 cm from center. This louvered ceiling system allows for a discrete HVAC and MEP system layout to be installed between the concrete slab’s underside and the ceiling louvers. In the abscence of a sprinkler system, we are providing three fire exits within a 25 meter radius from any point within the exhibition space. Two of these fire stairs have immediate access to the outside on the ground floor level.
Sustainability is an integral part of the architectural concept of the museum. This includes, among other things, energy efficiency, quality of stay, flexibility, an appropriate choice of materials and a minimum use of material. The aim of the energy concept is to maximize comfort while minimizing energy consumption. Due to the energy needs of the exhibition galleries and museum service spaces, the largest energy consuming systems are: artificial lighting, air conditioning and heating, all of which needs to be minimized. Besides a high standard of insulation (shell in passive house quality) there will also be a hybrid ventilation concept which maximizes the natural “conditioning”, including the buffer zones, as an integral part of the overall architectural design.
The following passive and active measures are conceptually integrated for the optimization of energy efficiency:
• Compact building in passive house quality (triple glazing, high insulation standard of all opaque components).
• Maximized daylighting (daylight autonomy) on all non-exhibition spaces through the light-directing internal patio, as well as the internal buffer zones and bright louvered ceiling surfaces.
• The temperature control of the inner buffer zone is primarily achieved by the overflowing air from the surrounding areas and the passive solar gains.
• With the increased solar radiation during winter, the buffer zone is used as a solar air collector that heats the extracted air and allows an additional heating capability which, by heating recovery of the mechanical ventilation, goes to the fresh air.
• As basic, heating the thermal activation of the concrete cores is provided.
• Hybrid ventilation: Mechanical ventilation with highly efficient heat recovery supplies to the areas of hygienic fresh air require ments. The extracted air flows out to the central air openings in the solar buffer zone and on the staircases. In the buffer zone, the air is taken out and supplied to the central ventilation system.
• During transition periods and during summer, the public most part of the building on the ground level is naturally aired by a passive ventilation system throughout the daytime.
• High user comfort by individual user influence on the room conditions by means of operable windows and individual reheating at the air outlets of the mechanical air supply (and extraction) on the façade. This also avoids the loss of comfort due to cold air
drop and radiation cooling during winter. • The summer comfort is ensured mainly via exterior sun shading in combination with sun protection Low-E glazing, as well as the use of thermal mass in the space.
• By night time, air flushing the exposed thermal mass is discharged once again.
• The air intakes at night time are weather protected and positioned below the external concrete wall and the glazing.
• Natural cross-ventilation, driven by wind and thermal lift in the buffer area, can be optimized during the transition periods and most importantly during summer even without a thermal activation of the building, thus allowing thermal comfort. Additionally in mid-summer, the thermal activation of the concrete core can be activated and operated by compressing cooling. The energy supply is provided by the heating network and a classic compression cooling with the objective to dock in the future to a cooling network, thus achieving a significant improved overall energy efficiency. Sustainability through synergies with the existing buildings and energy efficiency is therefore an integral part of the architectural concept for our museum proposal.