Japanese architect Kengo Kuma was selected for refurbishment of the CAM building and extension of the garden.
Brief presentation of the project
‘We reimagine the Gulbenkian not trough separated interventions into the structure vs. the grounds, but a holistic integration of all the elements in the landscape. In creating a new dialogue between building and garden, we are drawn to the gap between the former back wall of the CAM and the former back boundary of the park. As our mission is to enhance without disturbing what is beautiful, we see this underutilized space as the best opportunity to create the new face for the Gulbenkian. Here we create a new roof, becoming a filter in between the CAM and the garden and a social space for visitors.
This design draws from the typology of the “Engawa”, a walkway sheltered under the eave of the roof, considered neither totally inside nor outside in traditional Japanese housing. As the “Engawa” at the rock garden at Ryoanji in Kyoto, the roof sweeps low to frame the view/ gap, encouraging visitors to commune with nature and with one another.
This offer a new outdoor typology to the Gulbenkian grounds so look after for its outdoor experiences blended with culture. Whether as an event space, a casual meeting spot or a quiet place to read during a lunch breaks, locals encouraged to make this new place their own.’
‘Our aim was to connect to the nature of the garden reinforce the axis connection while giving the best conditions for the new gallery and CAM spaces efficiency. Instead of building towards the garden for the new gallery we looked into the CAM to find the opportunities for the design. Rethinking the vertical access in the galleries and optimizing the relation between the different areas. (…)
The roof will also be felt inside the 00 floor gallery, tempering the sunlight from the outside. In contrast with its ceramic exterior, the underside is a warm wood paneling that extends the visual language of the gallery ceilings. Through these subtle exposures, nature is ever-present without overshadowing the artwork itself nor the existing building.’
Kengo Kuma & Associates