Metis: Microtopograhy: International Architecture Competition for Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä, Finland

Adrian Hawker (Designer), Mark Dorrian (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formDesign

Abstract / Description of output

This project responds to a brief to make a small commercial space that acts as a connector between two existing museums in Jyväskylä – the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland. The proposal takes the form of an interior landscape, which allows movement between the offset floor levels of the two museums to take place in a dynamic and variable way. Its topography is formed by a structural plate, which acts as a bridge between the existing buildings. Made from polished concrete, into which are set areas of terrazzo, inlaid stone, and hardwood flooring, this sets up a complex surface that then receives an array of cabinets. These furniture elements appear as miniature pieces of architecture within the space, presenting the objects that are for sale. All this is then covered with a minimal glass envelope that, in turn, acts as a display case that exhibits the interior. Finally, above this sails an overhanging canopy, which forms a sunshade and also shelters the glass below from excessive snow loading. Melt water from the snow it catches drains into a watercourse to one side that runs adjacent to the Alvar Aalto Museum.

In the exterior space below the structural plate, a new public route is opened up alongside this stream. Walking from the nearby Ruusupuisto square, the public can pass underneath and then up the hillside via a new access route that runs along the front of the retaining wall, receiving natural light from above. This space is lined with a richly patterned mosaic surface, which forms the inner skin of the canopy and folds out onto the ground below. In winter and at night, light spilling out from the vitrine-like glass envelope above illuminates the mosaic underside of the canopy, bathing the space in a warm reflected glow.

The new shop area appears as a zone of spatial intensification between the existing museums. It works with architecturally scaled furniture that invites exploration and allows Aalto's product designs and related items to be displayed in an individuated way. Rotatable partitions permit the space to be reconfigured in various forms – to organize flows through it, for example, in the case of evening lectures or similar events held in the museums.

The presentation here diagrams the design process as the project is relayed and re-instantiated through differential media. It tries to convey something of the complexity and multiplicity of the thinking-through-material-things in which the project is enmeshed and from whence it emerges.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Metis
  • Architecture
  • Competition
  • Aalto


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