Museum(n.): a building or part of a building in which objects of interest are displayed. Looking at the etymology and the origin of the word it comes from Latin Museum place for learned occupation, from Greek Mouseion, from neuter of Mouseios of the Muses, from Mousa. (merriam-webster)
Museums are structures in which some artifacts are exhibited since they are valued. Value here has deeper meaning than being only financial; their scientific, biological, chemical or artistic values are also playing a crucial role. But how actually this concepts emerged? In order to exhibit, one first must collect. This urge of human beings to collect can be considered as one of the primary instincts regarding the instincts “to possess something” and also “to give a meaning”. Collecting such materials concerning some meaning are the basic idea behind the museums.
Looking back in the history, 15th century is where the royal families and nobles are collecting such precious treasury things and started to exhibit in smaller events and not-directly designed for the purpose structures. The art of collecting become more general after the middle of the sixteenth century and continued to last in the seventeenth century. As a glorious example, The Russian Tsar Peter the Great composed a scientific collection by gathering curiosities during his trips to the Netherlands and also added Egyptian coins and cultural belongings to his collection. Tsar stored the obtained items in the Kunstkamera in Russia which later on become the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. It is clear that his works became the roots of such huge institutions and exhibitions. Research activities were connected with the institution, as well as a library, anatomical theater, laboratory and an observatory.
Museums, until then, played an important role as an expression of the art and collections drastically changed around nineteenth century. What is important now here is the beauty of the place that things are exhibited. Geometric shapes and forms and spatial characteristics are there to serve the purpose of beauty. The beauty is now more subjective and also dynamic; so the museums should be.
Coming to the nineteenth century, we encounter with the favorite example of the studio 😀 Altes Museum! Altes Museum designed by Schinkel in which is Berlin (Germany) gives a good idea of the interior of a museum as envisaged in those days. The building has the Roman roots; it is inspired by the Roman architecture and their structures such as Pantheon. It is not surprising that, also considering the period, they seek beauty in Romans and their work. There is also the use of Doric Pillars, which was thought as the reflection of what is beautiful. The “classic” approach is common on those days and Altes Museum is such a great example to understand. The plan of the museum is like the pioneered typological element to the upcoming museums on the following centuries. Looking at the plan, we can see on big space at the center and the important use of geometry as a way to make the museums beautiful. This idea of having a centered void is actually very common in contemporary architecture,too. (Guggenheim Museum)
The period is mostly influenced by Roman and Greek architecture. For example, we can see the Greek inspiration in The Bode Museum in Berlin. The structure is round in shape as referring to the tholos building from the Ancient Greek.
The museums of the nineteenth century are also important because they also added contemporary art in their collection. The Musée du Luxembourg in Paris was one of the first buildings to have an contemporary art exhibition, when it was initiated in 1818. .
As an example of such different buildings, we can look at the Museum district of Amsterdam. At the hearth of the city, there is a specific part where all the knowledge is accumulated. Between two museums, it is only two minute walk. The city is embracing its culture. There are all kind of arts; from renaissance to contemporary art. The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and Moco Museum are interrelated in their urban context. All the museums are located to form urban spaces which is also in relation with the green area. The center of the city, the town is attracted by the charm of the museums. museum acting as a living organism which is controlling its perimeter. The concentrated historical or artistic knowledge is also combined with different public functions such as commercial, retail activities. There is a square where there is ice skating in winter and different festivals during summer. There are tons of cafes and restaurants, tons of souvenir shops… This is a very intelligent tactical move; museum is no longer only a space for artifacts to be exhibited but as a part of the urban life.
As another example, we can look at Mucem in Marseille. MUCEM is the museum Built on the historical site of the Fort St-Jean. most recent cultural offering bridges the gap between the city and the sea. The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations is sited on the edge of the shore of Marseille. The built structure is in relation with also the historical area. The link of the building to the ground is a flying bridge. The MuCEM provides a complete overview of the Mediterranean: a permanent exhibition on the ground floor retraces the history of the Mediterranean, while on the upper floor, there are temporary exhibitions dedicated to civilisations, cities and the people who made the Mediterranean what it is. The building itself speaks a clear voice; the materiality and the flexible space formation reflects a part of nowadays understanding.
for more you can visit: https://www.archdaily.com/400727/mucem-rudy-ricciotti