The museums sculptural volume is designed along Zaha Hadid’s characteristic conceptual terms of fluidity, velocity and lightness. The building appears like a mystical object floating above the extensive artificial landscape strip, seemingly defying gravity by exposing dramatic undercuts towards the surrounding entrance plazas. Large activated green fields flow around the museums sculptural mass, underlining its enigmatic presence with curvilinear lines echoing the elongated contours of the building. Contrasting with the vertical business district skyline it is a manifestation of Vilnius’ new cultural significance.
A glossy metallic building envelope registers the underlying main programmatic units which are articulated as inlays within the compact overall form. The sub volumes are expressed through folds and protrusions in the facades modulation, creating multiple ways of reading the building as a whole that is constituted by its integral parts. These parts reflect the various institutions and bodies that are combined within the museum, such as the Hermitage, the Guggenheim as well as the city of Vilnius. In the interior a canyon like air space allows for architecturally refined communication and circulation spaces mirroring the Fluxus spirit of informality and vivacity surrounding art.
Through manipulations of the ground at the riverfront, towards the park and the bridge, different levels are made accessible. An intensification of public life at the river is our aim. The positioning of the building on the riverbanks, respectively the cities edge, creates a strong sense of place within Vilnius.
The exterior spaces are modulated landscape formations creating several imprints or plinths upon which various activities and performances can take place. Large Stairs at the promenade might function as outside auditorium spaces for summer screening etc. The surrounding landscape is a continuation of the internal landscape connecting museum Lobby with its surrounding on several levels. The aim is again an intensification of public and cultural life on the museum plaza and the museum promenade.
Zaha Hadid’s design points towards a future architectural language matching the cultural aims of the new Hermitage Guggenheim Vilnius Project. It is part of an innovative research trajectory within ZHA that embraces latest digital design technology and digital fabrication methods. The application of advanced digital technology throughout the course of the project enables a seamless workflow from the fluid shapes of the drawing board to the realization process. An innovative architectural language meets new technologies in order to articulate this project’s complexities. By means of ZHA’s characteristic dynamic acceleration curves and sculpted surface modulations the design expresses the project’s vision coherently.