Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum

Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum
Gabčíkovo Hydroelectric Dam,
Hrušov Reservoir
Atelier 008 s.r.o.
Ján Kukuľa, Jozef Jakuš, Juraj Pilka
Danubiana – centrum moderného umenia, n.o.
2495 m2 (extension) / 1426 m2 (existing building)
4,3 mil. EUR

The story of Danubiana Modern Art Museum goes back to year 2000 when the original building had been inaugurated, based on the idea of Slovak gallerist Vincent Polakovič and Dutch entrepreneur and art collector Gerard Meulensteen. The couple had conceived the idea of the gallery as an ark moored on the peninsula in the Danube river on the crossroads of three countries symbolically connecting nations and cultures of newly-formed Europe. Working in the studio of the architect Peter Žalman at the time was young architectural graduate Ján Kukuľa who, 8 years later, had been invited by founders to assist in defining the potential for the future expansion. The brief had called for expanding exhibition areas of the original museum almost threefold in order to provide spaces for the display of selected works from the permanent collection of Dutch, Slovak and international art. Original building by architect Žalman was to be retained and continued to be used for temporary exhibitions. Given the beauty of the surrounding area and the limitations of the site the task of expanding the museum had to be handled with utmost sensibility. After series of workshops attended by the group of architects, architectural students and artists from Slovakia and the Netherlands, Ján Kukuľa and his colleague Jozef Jakuš had been commissioned to develop their proposal in which new pavilions were arranged in the loose linear sequence along the north-eastern shore under a gently curving roof plate. Such arrangement succeeded in preserving the proportions and dominance of the original building whilst providing spaces for new uses which, besides exhibition areas, included new reception, artshop and the restaurant. Vital aspect of the new proposal was also its minimum impact on the existing building, so that it could continue to function while the new pavilions were under construction. The important design feature of the new addition is the roof terrace from which visitors can enjoy magnificent vistas of the surrounding areas thus experiencing the unity of art, architecture and nature in this unique location. While sensitive to its context, the new building also aspires to meet high environmental and technological standards. Geothermal potential of the abundant ground water had been harnessed to provide the source for heating and cooling of the interiors via the system of capillary mat system installed on the ceiling over the entire area of the extension. Palette of natural materials had been used throughout, ranging from glass fibre reinforced concrete cladding panels through profiled glass, titanium zinc fascias, galvanized steel railing to cast in-situ polished concrete floors in the exhibition areas. Original concrete paviors were reused externally for new footpaths whilst the new flat roof and hard landscaping had been finished by indigenous washed pebbles sourced locally. Original building had been given a new façade so that the entire ensemble reads as one architectural whole. Finally, new car access had been designed with two car parking areas arranged on both sides of the public road. (Ján Kukuľa)