Claudia Temperilli ARCHITECT







IMMERSED met Amber Beernink

Immersed is a unique project: in utilising an existing architectural structure and reinforcing its heritage and function, we create a new, innovative public art experience. During a short art expedition, the visitor will be immersed in the monumental atmosphere and offered unexpected perspectives on contemporary art pieces in close relation to their architectural context.

Observed architectural qualities
The old steel construction has great aesthetic quality not only from the exterior but also from the interior. The first floor, with its arched ceiling and sky lights, provides a unique, serene atmosphere for the display of art.
The ground floor, with its large sliding doors, sequence of facade windows and brick floor, strongly connects to the outside architecture.

Dialogue of art, space and public
Rather than enclosing precious art pieces in clima-controlled vitrines and separating them from the hangar space, the climatic skin is folded around the public pathway. This leaves the hangar space - with its delicate construction and special daylight conditions - in a close dialogue with the art displayed.
The public space is designed as a new element that guides the exploration of the hangar space both on ground level and on the first floor. In the glass ‚vitrines’, the public is immersed into a spatial dialogue of daylight, construction and art. One could say that the public themselves are put on display, to be observed.

Hangar routing and viewing
We suggest to open the original hangar doors throughout the day and use new glass sliding doors to allow a view across the whole length of the hangar. The view along this axis would be guided by two division walls that mark the central public route.
Visitors will walk on a platform at 500mm above original floor height, which refers to the water height after inundation, a line also shown by the brick foundation of the hangar. Alongside the platform, the exhibition space is alternated with glass boxes that pop into the hangar space where visual arts are exhibited. On three locations, visitors can be lifted up to a height where eye level is right above first floor level. Floating between floors, the public can watch - not touch - the spectacular exhibition space which lies under the arched ceiling with its diffuse sky light.
At the end of the main platform route, entering the lobby, the space opens up to the space of the hangar in full width and height, outlined by the arched roof. Looking back, the complete spatial arrangement becomes clear to the visitor. On a warm day, the outside terrace can be accessed directly from the lobby through the big facade opening at the eastern facade, where the sliding doors are opened up.

The hangar is interpreted as a suitable semi-protected contemporary art exhibition space. Minimal adjustments need to be made to allow for art to be exhibited here: the delicate steel construction remains fully visible. The public zone provides thermal comfort.
In summer, facade openings and floor ventilation can provide for natural ventilation both in the long and short axis of the hangar. In winter, heat is accumulated in the public zone which is partially enfolded with glass. This zone divides the hangar space into smaller sections. In combination, this system minimizes the required heating and cooling capacity.

Kind of art
The visit to the hangar is the starting point for exploring the entire kunstfort site. In our view, the contemporary art exhibited should appeal to a broad public and be energizing. We would like artists to create pieces especially for the specific architectural qualities of shape, light and atmosphere in the hangar. We are also interested to see how artists - through their artwork - will react to the peculiar perspective that is offered.
In our view, high-end art pieces which require professional climate control systems or theft protection measures should rather be displayed within the walls of the fortificaton itself.

Outdoor space and site routing
The visit to the hangar is part of a bigger experience: arrive, walk around the hangar, visit the hangar and experience the art exhibition, consume and relax, walk over the dike with a preview on the fort, entering the fortification site, etc.
Currently the parking lot is situated next and parallel to the hangar, leaving no usable public outside space at the rear of the hangar. By rotating the parking space it lines up with the main road. This measure provides outdoor space around the hangar, which can be used as a terrace and for observing the hangar and part of the exhibition from the outside. A walk around the hangar offers a diverse and unique view on the art works exposed on the ground floor: the interior has been designed in relation to the facade openings.
With three openings in the facade, in theory more routes are possible. We propose a north entry and a south exit, which ends in the new public terrace at the south eastern corner of the hangar. An extra stairway onto the dike connects the south exit to the dike path.

Immersed is made for the competition 'Genieloods', Kunstfort Vijfhuizen (March 2010)