A significant part of the experience of a museum is the contemplation and the digestion of visual information.
By examining the qualities of light, body posture and scene setting in early 20th Century paintings (such as the “Chop Suey” by Edward Hopper), we can conclude that a deeper understanding of contemplation is related to ambience and body posture. For example, the manner in which a person leans forward on a table to engage in conversation, or backwards to appreciate the view through a window or the text in a book.
Designing a space of contemplation is like tailoring a spatial jacket around the human body. A tailored fit is important to cater for the delicate natural responses of both the human mind and its body. For example, the size of a table can affect a person’s desire and ability to communicate with someone sitting opposite them.
Natural lighting and ambience are also an important part in the creation of a space as they shape the depth, atmosphere and meaning of that space.
In cross section, the bridge-like structure of the upper gallery adopts the same concept of Louis Kahn’s Rochester Unitarian church. The north facing aspect allows natural light to rebound and hence wash onto the walls in the main gallery space as a refracted light source.
In plan, the bridge structure follows a layout similar to that of the Barcelona canal bridge. The circulation driven concept of the Barcelona canal bridge allows visitors to either move between the arrays of stalls or walk along the side of the bridge to appreciate the views of the city. I have appropriated this concept in the design of my gallery such that the stalls would instead be displays of architectural models and drawings. Visitors can alternatively travel across the bridge via the two sides, allowing access to the views of the city, as well as to seating and books along the windows.