Museum extension – Lima

By Mehandjiev-architects, 07.2016

A competition project to extend the Mali museum in Lima, Peru.

The art passage / El pasaje del arte

The project proposal is shaped by the four main elements of the brief: the museum, street, future subway station and park, very different in form and function. They must be connected by the new art wing in a functioning system on a very long and narrow building site. A cultural hub for the city of Lima should be formed, to act as a integrated platform for culture, recreation and education, seamlessly connected to the city’s future and existing transportation and green systems.


The project concept is inspired by the labyrinthine alleyways of ancient cities: two basic elongated forms – the new art gallery and an educational wing – interlace into a series of multileveled places: an open sculptural park, a courtyard, entrance plazas, ramps, stairs, and a public garden form an inner passage connecting each, and the metro and park in the periphery.

Besides the horizontal flow between spaces and functions, a vertical transition is made between the ground level: park and museum and lower level: subway and the new gallery. The site becomes a series of scenes, leading the passage of each visitor through the inner courtyards, meandering “through arts” towards the new wing, education, metro or park.

Resolving downwards, under the plinth level of the old museum building, three levels below ground, the system doesn’t cover its facade, but with minimalistic expression complements it, simultaneously integrating the subway entrance into the urban space visually and functionally.

Connecting between various elements, the program also divides them when necessary: the inner alleyway can be closed-off at night (leaving only the entrance to metro and education), the open exposition plaza is fully visible from public spaces, but can be reached only through the museum.

The proposal follows the spatial requirements of the brief economically, focusing on sustainability principles. The proposed gallery spaces are open, flexible and multifunctional. The volumes combine the low-energy consumption of underground buildings with the use of natural light through the courtyards. In the gallery, controlled sun lighting is provided by a double u-glass facade, filtering the incoming light. The facade of the education wing is shaded by a louver grid covered with climbing plants, stopping the direct and allowing the scattered light to reach the classrooms within.

Changes on the park composition are minimal and only corresponding to the entrance to the new wing, as any changes should be the aim of a larger project.

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