Cultural spaces are changing. Nowadays museums, galleries, libraries are shifting their ways of work, moving further from a space oriented for collecting memories, registries and material history towards a space oriented to people, open, public, accessible.
The digital era has changed the way we get information, almost all aspects of history can be read, and researched online, through digital banks of information, digital libraries, etc. However, what is still irreplaceable is the experience, the act of being at a close distance to a particular object which is valuable because of its history or its significance for humanity. The way we tell the story of our collections and the way we create a memorable experience for our visitors is what will define MNIR as an interesting place to be in.
People comes nowadays more and more to museums and galleries in groups, they use urban museums as meeting points, they do not only go during the weekend to visit the museum’s collections, but rather they use their secondary spaces, cafeterias, restaurants, bookshops, etc, as points of social interaction which are enhanced by the back bone functionality of the space. This way we can see all over Europe the major galleries and museums working hard in how to make the interaction between the institution and the potential “consumer” of culture, better, more intensive, friendlier.
If we are to remodel a museum for the XXI century and beyond, then we need to rethink the way we programme its spaces. How can we design a space like the MNIR paying respect to its collection, and taking in consideration all the technical details necessary for its valuable collection maintenance, but at the same time a space which is valuable for all its users, visitors, administration personnel, scientists, researchers, tourists, families and kids for example?
We believe the key to put all this groups together and to succeed in designing a museum for the next 100 years, is to focus in its public space and the offer of leisure and cultural activities. The engine to make it work is the experience, the gathering and the interaction, how to create spaces for everybody, spaces that are flexible enough to change over time, to accommodate different activities and performances, spaces that bring to life the collection in a story telling form, spaces that make kids interested in culture and history, because the new generations are the ones to be influenced by our past, if we want to build a better future.
Beros & Abdul Architects
Esenghiul Abdul, Christian Beros, Claudia Trufas, Roxana Dumitriu, Iulian Bindar.
In our contemporary society, programmes are by definition unstable, spaces can be programmed to act under a determined function, triggering different kind of events and activities, but they should be resilient and flexible enough to adapt over time towards new needs. In a history museum its inner core is the exhibition and collections, which acts as the backbone that sustain its identity, however the space of representation, the central plaza, is the one in charge of adapting through time, offering different scenarios, functions and experiences.
MNIR – Space of Events
Central plaza: The New MNIR is organised around a central plaza, which acts as the main space of social performance and representation. We believe in the importance of public space to activate and accommodate different users, a gathering point triggering social interaction.
The storage capacity of the new MNIR has been accommodated in the first 2 basements, liberating the first underground as a semi buried open plaza. The main objective is to use its borders in level -1 with new public programs creating active facades, providing leisure, retail and cultural facilities (coffee shops, gift shops, media rooms, and museum extension facilities), which were unable to be located in the existing structure.
The central plaza acts also as the hub which organise the user’s movements, as the main atrium to Trajan’s column hall, and as a separate entrance to the treasury exhibition. The new central plaza is a protected space, ideal for families which can bring their kids to “play and learn” activities under surveillance. The central urban square will become the meeting point, the reference for visitors, a new cultural hub for Bucharest.