Museum of Language 'The Beacon', 2018
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The project for the Museum of Language (MoL) follows three interconnected criteria: urban planning, programme and morphology.
Located directly on the Thames, the site has huge urban, scenic and panoramic potential. We therefore opted for a tall building (60m) with a low footprint (10.5x60.5 m) that hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions and leaves space for a large language-themed public park - an attraction point for the entire Woolwich area. The underground level houses the rest of the program, above which gardens are placed at ground level. The adjacent parking lot has been moved underground, allowing to extend the park above even further.
The park created above the underground level will have the dual function of enriching the neighborhood and therefore the social life of the local population and being a point of attraction for visitors of the museum.
The main morphological feature of the space is a ramp with a 9% slope and a linear length of 615 meters that creates a continuous space, extending from the sunken level to the top of the building. The ramp creates a flexible space, at the same time divisible and continuous.
There are numerous criteria for categorizing language families which implies that there are numerous possibilities for dividing the museum exhibition space. As an example we chose to divide the space by the number of native speakers per language family.
Adjustments to other categorization criteria are easy to make though, thanks to the flexibility of the continous space created by the ramp.
The ramp connects two cores that house temporary exhibition spaces and vertical connections. To those, four cantilevered volumes are "clinging" at different heights. They contain all the spaces of the Learning Center (LC) in the deliberate intent to mix the exhibition spaces (temporary and permanent) with the LC. Visitors can take part in certain activities of the LC (symposia, debates, projections etc ...) while scholars will visit the exhibition spaces during their daily work, creating opportunies for mutual contact and exchange of ideas.
Museum of Language: an icon on the Thames, at the same time a tower of Babel and a beacon that sheds light on the complex and fascinating subject of Language.
Project: Museum of Language 'The Beacon'
Program: Language museum with Learning Center and public park
Key Team Members: Marco de Piaggi, Weronika Wawrzyniak