Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Page 3 of 3
By: AH Asociados
The main building of the power station is converted into a museum, creating a mixed use space for expositions which also includes large spaces for contemporary art shows as well as other spaces dedicated to the Museum of Science and Technology. The program is completed with artist workshops, classrooms, an auditorium, the library, and a series of complimentary spaces associated with the use of the museum.
This renaissance of the old spaces of the power station will also be evident as viewed from afar; it is in the distance where the building shows off its new image and renewed presence in a play of apertures that rise vertically and reach towards the night sky, demonstrating its powerful character. As a beacon in the bay, the space that crowns the building is conceived as a multiuse area that combines restoration activities, presentations, expositions, parties or events, and it is also usable independently from the museum, accessible via the old conveyor belt structure used to deliver carbon to the power station.
The proposal is based on a basic concept of sustainability: recycling. Though this project deals with an entire complex of buildings, the idea of adapting existing buildings with other uses permit the conservation of the original quality of the site in its context, and at the same time taking advantage of the existing resources.
The entire site, from the parking lot to the walking path, are designed in the most natural way possible, utilizing materials fitting with the natural, wooded environment. The gravel and natural stone paving are complemented by areas of tree bark separated by strips of corten steel. With time, nature will fill in the gaps and perfectly integrate the walking paths in the landscape.
To accentuate the idea of a ruin, the project leaves the main building structure untouched by placing the new interior uses in free-standing boxes located within the original building shell. The building entrance is defined by a simple steel plate extending from the building face.
Besides the ticket counter and other services, the ground floor consists of two independent parts: the first contains the artist's workshops and the second, standing tall to one side of the main hall, contains the auditorium and library. In the main hall, the original machinery is conserved and used as part of the exposition.
The first floor includes the small-object exposition rooms and the power station history room. From there, via a staircase designed as an inverted hopper, one enters into the actual concrete coal hoppers which are perforated to house additional exposition spaces. Once past the coal hoppers, the visitor can descend at the opposite end or continue ascending until reaching the last floor, the majestic watchtower.
In the ceiling of the top floor are a series of slices, based on a module of the existing building skin. Creating a new rhythm that alters the delicate monotony of the facade, creating a singular image of the building, most of all at night.
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