Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind is internationally renowned for his theatrical brand of deconstructivism — particularly when it comes to cultural complexes such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, and the Denver Art Museum in Colorado. However, newly released images of the proposed Modern Art Center Vilnius suggest the architect may now be starting to explore more pared-back iterations of his distinctive, dramatic style.
Located near the medieval heart of Lithuania’s capital, Libeskind’s 33,000-square-foot museum will house thousands of works by local artists dating from 1960 to the present day. The form of the building possesses angular lines reminiscent of many of the architect’s previous projects, but the overall approach is measured in order to respect the historic details and massing of the surrounding context.
The building has been conceived as a cultural “gateway” connecting the 18th century grid to the walled city of the medieval period. White concrete cladding will provide a contemporary finish that echoes the hues of local building materials. A shard of the main volume is cut away to incorporate a planted roof and sculpture garden, while the external public space extends beyond the building in the shape of a new public piazza with planting and pathways.
“We wanted to create a museum for the people of Lithuania and also give this collection a home and an international audience. This collection is about the cultural legacy of the country,” said museum founder Viktoras Butkus. “Libeskind’s work is expressive, innovative, and, most importantly, has the power to tell the story of the past while connecting to the future of the city.”
At ground level, the piazza extends under one corner of the building — leading to a grand staircase that then leads to the public space on the roof. Libeskind’s cut-away volume allows natural light to flood the internal galleries from the north through floor-to-ceiling windows, while south-facing glazing will be shaded by a 16-foot (five-meter) cantilever during the summer months. A twilight rendering indicates that screenings of artists’ films will be shown in an open-air theatre after dark.
Construction on the Modern Art Center is set to begin in 2017, with completion slated for early 2019. For more information and images on this and other buildings by Studio Libeskind, check out the firm’s in-depth profile.