Musee de Louvain-la-NeuveEdit profile
This art museum is sited between the main square of the city of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium and an existing lake and park. The design of this museum was driven by the concept of creating a building that would both preserve the park and lake setting and extend it up to the town square while also acting as an element which marks the entry to the civic parking deck which is below the entire town center. The 5,000 square meter building consists of two major massing elements, an exhibition tower which houses the museum’s permanent art collection and a park-covered base which contains public functions such as a lakeside bar, auditorium, temporary exhibition space, workshops and offices. The roof of this base contains new pedestrian connections within an undulating park landscape that creates an intermediate terrace down to the lake level. The exhibition tower is a sloping mass which grows out of the landscape to form a vertical element which marks the entry to the lower parking structure and the pedestrian entry up to the town square. The face of the exhibition tower responds to the site conditions and solar orientation. The north side is a fully glazed channel glass system with transparent openings at strategic locations to allow north light into the gallery spaces. The southern green wall is a solid element that protects the museum’s contents by inhibiting direct sunlight from entering the galleries while also reinforcing the naturalistic setting along the lakeside. This curving green wall also defines new pedestrian paths connecting the lake and the town center. By placing the tower element along the vehicular edge, views of the lake from the town center are preserved and framed. The permanent galleries are located around a three-story central atrium which acts as an orientation space for the collection. When appropriate, filtered natural light is admitted through the channel glass system or the atrium into the galleries. A louvered roof over the atrium modulates the light and also acts as a solar collector. Off of this three-story space are a series of alternative circulation routes which provide a variety of ways of experiencing and learning about the collection. A series of terraces provide for exterior exhibition space and open up views to the lake from the galleries.