Numu, New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Courtesy of the architects

In July of 2020, the Fundación Engel launched the National Architecture and Landscaping Competition; the objective was to select a proposal from which the New Museum in Santiago (NuMu) will be developed and open to the community in the near term. The winning proposal designed by Cristián Fernández Arquitectos in association with Valdés Hagemann Arquitectos, Matías González R., Guillermo Bustos, and Claudio C. Araya, was one of the 76 proposals submitted that were reviewed by a jury composed of Glenn Lowry, David Adjaye, David Chipperfield, Claudio Engel, Steven Holl,  Luis Izquierdo, Toshiko Mori, Frances Morris, Charles Renfro, Marcelo Sarovic and Raúl Torrealba.

NuMu Museum Technical Information

There are many reasons why this project deserved to win the contest. First, it makes a very clear commitment to the park. Almost hugging him. At the same time, he engages with the landscape behind: the buildings and mountains in the distance. But more importantly, it is the distribution of the galleries and their effectiveness in the use of space.

Glenn Lowry, MoMA Director (Jury President)

NuMu Museum in Santiago de Chile Photographs
Numu, New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Courtesy of the architects

Numu, New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Courtesy of the architects

Numu, The New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Courtesy of the architects

Numu, New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Courtesy of the architects

Numu, New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Courtesy of the architects

Text by the Architects

The word “museum” comes from the Greek word Musa, the goddesses that inspire poets and artists. We understand the museum as the place where we come to seek out inspiration. This building is inviting…it signals openness towards the community that surrounds it.

Qualities like transparency and welcoming spaces create the type of place where people gather together. We propose a building that invites one to linger, promoting the interaction between people and art, in all its manifestations.

The park, its views, the external spaces, and the exhibition areas that take presence in the building create a congregation and stimulation place that serves to inspire.

Diversity is represented by exhibition rooms floating at the upper level and oriented in different directions, a swirl of air or a star or a hand whose fingers reach out in a gesture of openness and diversity.

Unity is incarnated in a central open space, a large platform that ties the building together and can be filled by various possibilities and events.

The building is an “interface” between the scale of the park and urban fabric.

Roots, identity, and geographical landscape

The building is rooted in the land surrounding it. Its volumes highlight the peaks and landmarks that historically and geographically make up the Santiago Valley.

The central courtyard’s focus is Manquehue Hill (from Mañkewe, a Mapudungun word meaning “where the condors fly”), the tallest hill in the valley, which has a significant connection to our culture’s origins and history.

To the West, the Virgin Mary’s image stands framed by San Cristobal Hill, representing Spanish colonization and our half-European, half-indigenous culture.

Finally, to the East, the building opens towards the heights of San Ramón. This is the great geographical scale, the Andes mountain range, which runs the entirety of the continent and hugs, within one of its folds, Santiago’s greater city.

The building’s geometry is organized to value the most significant geographical landmarks in the Santiago Valley. This way, the building’s conceptual matrix creates a gesture of inclusion, bringing to light Chile’s original peoples’ worldview.

Materiality 

The building can be understood on three levels. Each one of these levels has well-defined characteristics in terms of material definition.

Below, the walkways, ramps, and stairs are made of acetylated wood, which creates a surface that connects the city and the park with the building and conveys a friendly, inclusive character.

Above, the exhibition rooms that float above the courtyard, coated in white limestone brickwork, incorporate translucent lighting elements, allowing these spaces to be retro-illuminated.

At the intermediate level sits the Lobby, connected to the street, the central patio, and the park. Here transparency (glasswork) is the main standout feature.

This living interior linking the street, the patio, and the park is transparent and open from street-level. The artworks themselves can be seen from the city and the park. It is a generous and inclusive space.

Lobby

One enters the museum through a large ramp that leads to the “Events Courtyard” and, from there, to the Lobby. A large levitating reception desk allows for ticket sales and an information desk and integrates the Gift Shop.

The Lobby, the Gift Shop, the “Events Courtyard,” the Cafeteria, and the Restaurant all root the building to the “urban” lifestyle.

This living interior linking the street, the patio, and the park is transparent and open from street-level.  The artworks themselves can be seen from the city and the park. It is a generous and inclusive space.

Events Courtyard

The “Events Courtyard” is an open space designed to bring diverse artistic activities together at the building’s heart.  This courtyard will be one of the main exhibition areas, alongside the galleries. It will be an open space filled with life, diversity, and art.

Exhibition Rooms

These three large spaces “float” within the building. They can be accessed from a central area, which looks out over the Events Courtyard. These galleries’ placement allows for different use patterns: connecting the rooms and creating a continuous exhibition space or allowing them to be used separately.

Each room’s interior is delimited by straight and lightly curving walls; these give the greatest possibilities for interior configurations. They have a regular ceiling structure that permits flexible exhibition displays. During the day, they are bathed in indirect and controlled natural light; night illumination maintains these same characteristics. The rooms have two terraces, which are extensions of the exposition spaces.

Auditorium

This is a simple space that allows at least two different, specialized configurations. It has a system of retractable theater-style seats, which creates a flat space apt for performance, dance, and other similar activities, or – when the seats are in place – the space becomes a sloped auditorium – perfect for movies, conferences, theater, etc.

This space can be accessed from the first floor or the lower plaza level to optimize these configurations.

Education

This section requires a sufficient amount of independent operation so that students and the general public can meet here without passing through the museum’s interior, closed-off areas.

At the lower plaza level, the education rooms and the library are organized around a patio-garden, accessed from the museum or directly from the park. This patio serves as a space for workshops associated with the educational spaces.

Sound Arts

This is a 10 x 10-meter space with an interior height of 6 meters. This subterranean space is constructed with thick cement walls built to provide total acoustic isolation. It includes a large access gate that completely soundproofs the space. This space can be accessed through the lower plaza, but it is mostly connected to the museum exhibition areas.

Service Areas

All museum levels are connected by a vertical circulation service space that includes a freight elevator, stairs, and internal service areas.

Access for pedestrians, cars, and trucks is located in the south section of the lower plaza level. There is a space for trucks to load and unload material safely and comfortably. From here, it’s easy to access the administrative areas and service departments.

NuMu Museum Plans and Diagrams
Drawing - Numu, The New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Site Plan

Drawing - Numu, The New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Second Floor

Drawing - Numu, The New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

First Floor

Drawing - Numu, The New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Section

Drawing - Numu, The New Museum In Santiago De Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Section

NuMu Museum in Santiago De Chile Image Gallery
About Cristián Fernández Arquitectos

Cristián Fernández Arquitectos is an architectural practice based in Santiago, Chile. Author of several large public works such as the GAM building, the architect firmly believes that architecture can and should make people happy.

  1. Collaborators: Mara Mantoiu, Amalia Fernández S., Gracia Fernández S., Cristián Fernández S.
  2. Engineering: Luis Soler
  3. Landscape: Macarena Calvo
Cite this article: "NuMu Museum in Santiago de Chile / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos" in ArchEyes, January 6, 2021, https://archeyes.com/numu-museum-in-santiago-de-chile-cristian-fernandez-arquitectos/.