The Europe-Far East Gallery, the annex to the Japanese Art and Technology Manggha Museum in Kraków, provides new exhibition space for presentations of historical and contemporary European and Southeast Asia art. The new building has two exhibition rooms, both are classic white cube spaces (about 550 m2).
The facility respects and highlights of the main Manggha Museum building’s uniqueness (arch Arata Isozaki, collaboration Ingarden & Ewy, 1994) and creates a reasonably neutral architectural background that complements and orders the surroundings. Thus the Manggha Museum remains the dominant element in formal and functional terms. The Gallery’s shell has therefore been removed to the side of the Manggha’s main entrance and situated so as to prevent it from blocking the view of the existing building. The height has been aligned to the scale of the undulating roof of the main building. A separate entrance zone has been designed for the Gallery, with its own stairs, a disabled ramp, and a terrace, which can be used for exhibition and artistic activities outside the building. The situation of the terrace augments the public space in front of the Manggha and creates an additional urban interior, delimited by the façades of the two buildings. The minimalistic Gallery building is finished with simple glass and sandstone surfaces; the façades are composed in correspondence with the analogous forms of the existing outdoor architectural elements in front of the main Museum – the ramps and the stairs. The diagonal upper part of the south elevation corresponds to the diagonal lines of the balustrades on the ramps in front of the Museum building. Calm, simple and reserved in expression, the architectural form of the new structure provides a discreet background for the main building, thus foregrounding its characteristic architectural character.
In contrast to the neutrality of the building, all the interior elements, which the viewer touches, are made of oak wood, warm, inviting: the information counter, counter locker room, wooden benches and stairs. Everything you touch is wood. Neutrality between the background and the warmth of wood creates a voltage trigger a positive emotion. Experiencing sensual interiors, in this case the touch, gives an extra dimension to the Gallery, this includes the idea of the materiality of architecture.
Contributed by Ingarden & Ewý Architects