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MUDESA - ICELANDIC MUSEUM OF DESIGN AND APPLIED ARTS Project: 2008
Location: Garðabær, Iceland
Photographs: PK arkitektar
Completion Year: Unbuilt
Floor Area: 2770 m²
Typology: -

Pálmar Kristmundsson and Fernando de Mendonça

1st prize open competition

MUDESA - ICELANDIC MUSEUM OF DESIGN AND APPLIED ARTSProject: 2008

Pálmar Kristmundsson and Fernando de Mendonça

1st prize open competition

Location: Garðabær, Iceland
Photographs: PK arkitektar
Completion Year: Unbuilt
Floor Area: 2770 m²
Typology: -

In October 2007 the Association of Icelandic Architects announced a competition for a building for new, permanent premises for the Icelandic Museum of Design and Applied Arts [Mudesa], with the clear intention that the new museum should be a landmark for the municipality of Garðabær. The vision put forward in PK Arkitektars winning entry was to give the building a sophisticated and simplistic, yet striking form and combine it with a distinctive choice of external cladding, intending to make the building stand out against its surroundings.

The outside of the building clad in burnt driftwood, as if hewn straight from the large evergreen trees on the mountains of Siberia and floated here over generations - weathered beaten and burnt - contrasts sharply with the clean crisp white interior Offering the ideal neutral backdrop for displaying modern art and technology, the building combines the sculptural and light-infused interior with a simplistic floor layout.

With tight wells set at different angles along the building's exterior walls, tight permeates the exhibition spaces and reception area in varying qualities, making the interior spaces evolve and develop over the seasons. Level by level, the building twists and slides back and forth, allowing burst of light to flow down its walls from above. Large windows on the front of the building at ground and third levels and to the rear at the second level, connect the interior with the environment around it and allow passersby tantalising glimpses of the wonders inside. The main access to the museum is granted by a driftwood timber platform, which extends along the front from to the museum's entrance. Designed to be multi-functional, the ground level contains a lobby area, ticket counter, cafe, museum shop, lecture hall and, when needed, a temporary exhibition space 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

As visitors enter the building, they are greeted by a huge light-filled triple-height space, creating awe and spectacle - a simple piece of theatre to envelope the senses. As if delighting in the experience of visiting a museum, the building celebrates not only the art itself but also the visitors using the building, with open balconies offering views of the art from different parts of the main exhibition spaces There is an emphasis on the ease with which the works of art can be enjoyed and exhibited Staff facilities such as storerooms, meeting rooms and kitchen are hidden behind the ground floor core.

The central spinal wall forms not only a structural element, but a key concept in the management of the spaces, hiding services but also accentuating the height of voids and helping to make the building appear more rational and legible. It's a clear play on the architectural concept of service served. The second floor has a dedicated temporary exhibition space, with its floor-to-ceiling window facing Vífilstaðavegur (the main road) and the town centre, serving as a teaser for passers by, who are able to catch a fleeting glimpse of the activities taking place in the museum. The core divides the third floor into two exhibition spaces for long-term exhibitions. One exhibition space is windowless, which contrasts starkly to the others. It offers stunning views of the square and the city centre, giving the visitors the opportunity to place the exhibition in its greater cultural context of the city and the beyond.