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MALI Modern Art Museum

Lima. Peru

2016

The journey into this, as required by the site, subterranean museum complex begins by passing through a new megalithic cantilevered structure that combines the tectonic scale of historic cyclopean masonry with contemporary structural technologies and calculations of balance. The recycled aggregate cast megalith, a piece of seemingly ancient underground technology elevated to the plane of the contemporary city, marks the beginning of a gentle ramp sequence down into the depths of a submerged and hyper-botanical outdoor space equal in size to that of the existing courtyard in the adjacent 1872 Palacio de la Exposición, to which this project is programmatically attached. After visiting the primary museum floor- an expansive horizontal volume surrounded by smaller poche-embedded shaped rooms, visitors descend to the lower level through a second, brightly day-lit, interior mass structure into the more casual gallery, retail and café spaces. The end of museum sequence places visitors in the excavated outdoor gallery - shaded by the presence of the megalithic entrance structure hovering far above. Dappled in cool shade and surrounded by sculpture, visitors are transported from the everyday urban world into one of subterranean serenity made possible only through a uniquely Peruvian orchestration of art, color, architecture, botanical life, and megalithic structure. To sojourn underground doesn’t always entail an unwanted visit into a basement- to visit the new subterranean extension of MALI. The ambition was to experience the opposite—a descent into a new genre of public and artistic space.