Clouds, by Ten

Enrique Norton - Guggenheim Guadelajara 3
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Ten Arquitectos)

In the UK a discussion about iconography between Deyan Sudjic (critic for The Oberver, book: Architecture & Power) and Charles Jencks (book: Iconic Building) is just published.

The discussion revolves around the Guggenheim Museum and its success, and its failed successors.

In this context it’s interesting to look at the results of the last Guggenheim competition that was held for the city of Guadelejara, Mexico.

The three finalists all propose a different iconography: the sky/tower, a (sea)shell and a basalt-cube.

Enrique Norton - Guggenheim Guadelajara 1
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Ten Arquitectos)

Enrique Norton - Guggenheim Guadelajara 2
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Ten Arquitectos)

Ten Architectos
The winner of the competition Enrique Norton/Ten Architectos has the best design. The concept of the building is to stack the museum-spaces. The public route of ‘roltrappen’ circles around the exhibition spaces into the air. The tower is wrapped in a glass skin that has partially a light print.
The concept of any tower is to reach into the air and eventually dissolve into that air. Because of gravitation the base of a church-tower or skyscraper is big and heavy, while the top reaches as light as possible into the air. The building is a sort of rotated gradient into the air. Enrique Norton doesn’t do this, but cleverly combines a concept of the Dutch architects Neutelings Riedijk (one of the designers of the project is from Holland) with a Modernistic concept of dissolving the difference between in & outside. The gradient is not vertical but horizontal. The glass with its reflection furthermore seems from the outside to dissolve in the air, while from the inside the matte-glass makes you feel that you’re already walking through the clouds.
Disadvantage of the scheme is obviously that the view of the landscape doesn’t change when you’re moving higher in the tower. Because of the location next to a cliff the view is of the distant landscape, which practically stays the same, because relatively you’re not really moving upwards. The view of the neighborhood in the back of course does change.

Asymptote - Guggenheim Guadelajara 1
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Asymptote)

Asymptote - Guggenheim Guadelajara 2
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Asymptote)

Asymptote - Guggenheim Guadelajara 3
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Asymptote)

Asymptote
The concept of the proposal of Asymptote is that the building structure is made like a shell. That way the interior of the museum is freed from supporting structure, i.e. can be totally open and flexible. According to the designers the form of the building mimics the surrounding landscape. I don’t see it. It looks a bit like a weird seashell, which is obviously completely displaced here.

Jean Nouvel - Guggenheim Gaudelajara 1
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Jean Nouvel Ateliers)

Jean Nouvel - Guggenheim Guadelajara 2
Guggenheim Museum Guadelejara (Copyright Jean Nouvel Ateliers)

Jean Nouvel
The ateliers of Jean Nouvel designed a building that is made of the rocks of the location: basalt. The building is conceptually conceived as a solid block of basalt, where exhibition spaces are carved out.
Funny thing is that the form of the cube also refers to iron, because that sometimes crystallizes into pure cubes. (Or am I confusing here materials?)


About this entry