anti | museum
This quite theoretical, methodical and conceptual project, focuses on an abandoned former coal mining area, a place that is now the exact opposite of what it once has been, with a unique, romantic but also mystical atmosphere, mainly resolving of the contrast between decay, destruction and the beauty of returning nature.
The main goals of the project were to work with the process the area went through and to develop a new, consistent and radical way to deal with the remains, as well as to find a way to evolve a new use and architecture, that is developed not only for, but with the place, by to not only continuing the process, but visualizing it by working with the aspect of change and time.
Who influences you graphically?
My graphic style, if you can really call it a ‘style’, is influenced by all sorts of graphics and images I come across while scrolling through the internet, books and magazines, but also a lot of things, views and situations I experience in my everyday life.
If I had to name some people in particular it would be DOGMA, LCLA, OMMX, Espen Dietrichson… furthermore I am always inspired by movies, especially the ones of Wes Anderson. I love the compositions, symmetry, atmosphere, colour, strangeness and timelessness.
For this particular project I also took a lot of inspiration of Andrei Tarkowskis movies and the photographies of Bernd and Hilla Becher.
What dictated the graphic language of the project?
On a technical level I wanted to give the whole project a kind of abstractness and to have a graphical threat following through all of the images and models. Since the project was about a former coal mining area, I decided on a anthracite-coloured cardboard for a basis of all of my models to illustrate the darkness of the soil, and so I decided to take that texture in a lighter tone as a basis for all of my graphics as well.
On an visual level I wanted to illustrate the romantic but also mystical and therefore somehow strange and surreal atmosphere of the area and the contrast between the ruins, new buildings and the nature by using mainly green and grey tones and a lowered saturation. The cardboard texture shining through every image enhances the dematerialised and surreal touch.
Also the use of geometry was quite important. All images that are just cut-outs, just a glimpse on a scene that is actually much bigger, are rectangles. While all the images that are limited to what is shown, where the surroundings are unimportant, are placed in a circle.
What is the role of the ‚museum‘ for you nowadays? Is it an educational institution? How do you position yourself with respects to this over proliferation of museums and museum additions.
I think it depends on what kind of museum you are talking about. If it is, like in the case of my master thesis, a science or history related museum, sure education is a main aspect – or at least it should be. Also preservation of history and local identity is a common reason for museumization. But in the past years the classic technical and historical museums have more and more been outdated by ‘science centres’ that are much more entertainment-oriented. The main goal here is to have fun for a certain amount of time, then go home and forget about it. And that is quite problematic I think. A good museum should be fun, sure, but it should also keep your mind busy even after you have left it, in the best case you even learned something that helps you understand your present life more. Reflection is a key word here.
Why do you label your project as an ‚anti‘ museum?
In the beginning of the project, my initial idea was to design a new building for an already existing, but pretty outdated, regional mining museum on a former coal mining area. So initially there was just the ‘museum’ and no ‘anti’ in the title.
But when I started my work, I soon figured that the area and its process was far to interesting, that its atmosphere was way to special to just build a new museum, without working with the area, its process and the aspect of time itself. Also I had to find a position concerning the existing buildings and the returning nature. I could have made a museum out of it all, I could have preserved it, maybe reconstructed or renovated the old structures – what one might first see as the most obvious and best approach. But that would have transformed all the strangeness, all the unique beauty and fascinating atmosphere, into something artificial and inauthentic. The area is and has been a dynamic system, building a museum on or making a museum out of it would mean restricting it to one significant aspect, reducing it to one state that is concerned as the memorable one, and all the other states it went through would be seen as unimportant.
So I made the exact opposite of what I actually wanted to do. I tried to find a way to establish a new utilisation and architecture that just quite naturally continues the process, meaning that the decay of the ruins will not be stopped and the returning nature shall not be held back. The new buildings shall document that process with their position and orientation. Funny thing is, by doing that, they still somehow become a kind of a museum, documenting the process that is yet to happen – and not as usually museums do, something that happened in the past.
You talk about creating an architecture which responds to and with the space and context. How important was showing the context within the images?
For this project context is everything. Furthermore, the character of the new architecture is completely owed to the context. The buildings respond to it with their position, orientation, hight, materials – simply everything. So from the outside the new built figures can only be understood when seen in relationship with their immediate surroundings.
In contrast to that in the floor plans and elevations, where the focus is completely on the functional and interior aspects of the figures, the context is shown in a pretty vague way.
After studying architecture and urban planning at the University of Stuttgart Kyra received her Master of Science degree in October 2016. Since then she has been freelancing and working in a self-building-project for refugees at the University of Stuttgart.