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A crucial question is asked prior to the adaptive reuse of the church ruins: How to design a museum INSIDE the existing church ruins, instead of turning it into a brand new museum?
There is a subtle difference between the two: By designing a museum INSIDE the existing church ruins, one interferes minimally with the existing structures. One tactfully creates museum & ancillary spaces INSIDE the existing church ruins, such that these spaces look as if they are part of the original spaces in the past. When people visit the museum INSIDE the church ruins, they are experiencing both the existing church ruins and the new museum spaces inserted within it.
On the contrary, by turning the church ruins into a brand new museum, one will subconsciously create new museum spaces probably at the expense of negatively impacting the unique spatial qualities of the church, which is an undesirable thing to do.
A primary design strategy is to insert the exhibition galleries into the existing church ruins without disrupting the visual continuity of the nave, transept, crossing & chancel spaces which are unique features of any church.
The first exhibition gallery is created in the nave space adjacent to the crossing. It is enclosed in local clay bricks and roofed over with aluminum composite panel. As it occupies only half the height of the nave space, one can still appreciate the high vaulted ceiling throughout the nave, which is a beautiful sight to behold. This exhibition gallery is designed to cater to the display of relics / images that are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature / humidity / lighting, as it has an interior space which can be climatically controlled.
Adjoining this exhibition gallery is a second exhibition gallery which occupies the transept, crossing and chancel spaces, and the full height of the vaulted ceiling space. It is the original church space being used as a museum space to display relics / images that need not be displayed in a climatically controlled space.
A projection room is created in the same manner ( i.e. enclosed in bricks and roofed over ) in the south transept, without disrupting the visual continuity of the vaulted ceiling space along the transept.
The promenade is the first space one encounters upon entering the museum. It is roofed over by a skylight, and flanked on both sides by a café and a bookshop.
A new roof structure made of cross laminated timber ( CLT ) is designed to support the new roof made of laminated tempered glass ( skylight ) and aluminum composite panels.
A museum INSIDE the church ruins is designed with minimal interference to the existing ruins. It capitalizes on the beauty of the existing ruins, in terms of its wall texture ( stones & bricks ), and the unique spatial qualities of the church ( nave, transept, crossing, chancel spaces, aisle and the vaulted ceiling spaces ). One gets the best of both worlds: the new museum space and the existing church.
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