Like a mushroom that pushes its way up through the ground as it grows, this crazy entry into the competition to design the New Taipei City Museum of Art impressed us with its creativity and greenery-topped roof. Designed by HWKN, Artscape is a hybrid design of landscaping and thrilling new architecture. Chasms and rips in the exterior create openings for both light and people to enter the building, which was designed around HWKN's ECONIC (Ecological + Icon) design philosophy, where architecture reconnects people with nature through sustainability.
HWKN challenged the notion of a traditional building form by merging this new space with the environment. Starting from a rectangular volume, they connected the building with the earth, covered it with a green roof and divided into a grid like a tic-tac-toe board. The resulting chasms serve as entrances into the space and also draw daylighting down into the inner recesses of the building. These gaps also encourage natural ventilation and draw hot air up and out through their tops. Rainwater will also be collected from the roof and geothermal heating and cooling will provide energy efficient climate control.
The New York-based firm is working to further develop its ECONIC design philosophy, which “is the belief that architectural forms can excite people about a sustainable lifestyle by bringing nature back into their lives through new architectural arrangements.” Artscape is at once an exciting new landscape, an urban environment and a building. “We blended the new art museum with the landscape, unfolding the project’s full potential. The museum becomes an integrated part of the surrounding park and offers a maximum variety of spatial experiences within,” said Matthias Hollwich, Cofounder and Partner of HWKN.
Visitors to the museum enter through the “mixing chamber” from where they can go up to the open and animated Children’s Museum, or down to the expansive Contemporary Museum, which is organized on one floor to provide flexibility and clear orientation. These interior spaces can be defined or rearranged in a variety of configurations to fit the exhibit and provide unexpected views to delight visitors.