Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb


Zagreb's Lower Town was built with bricks and plastered. In this house of art, the bricks are bare, unyielding and contain the internal world, whereas the plaster is made of glass, translucent and contains everything else.

Concept description


Art is the revealing of multi-layered truth.

The Lower City courtyard space is made of brick, around the park.

AluArtForum connects the city, the park amidst the city and the Academy of Fine Arts which has found its place around the park and in it. AluArtForum is a space of meetings and communication, but also of experiencing art. Its goal is to change the visitor’s perception of reality, help them to become a more aware human being and as such rejoin the city life.

That is why the AluArtForum building consists of two parts. One is extroverted, contemporary and fits into the street line. It contains workspaces and educational spaces. The other one is introverted and its massiveness tells its environment what the environment is made of, while protecting its magical interior which communicates with the outside world in a very controlled manner, thus easily accommodating any one of the innumerable parallel realities of the artistic universe within the exhibition spaces.

The relations between location, function and materiality

The space for the AluArtForum building is located between a very intensive street with a high urban quality and a beautiful park. The building’s task is to use that position while organising its interior, and to connect those two worlds. The decision is almost momentarily made that the technical spaces find their place under ground, that the exhibition spaces be grouped in a single taller volume and be positioned closer to the park, and that the remaining spaces be grouped within a second, lower volume and be positioned next to the Ilica street.

Naturally, the Street Volume fills the entire width of the plot between the neighbouring buildings, but it is elevated by the height of a storey, thus clearing the ground floor and creating the entrance porch. On the other hand, the Courtyard Volume is a more self-contained geometric form that is moved away from the eastern edge of the plot, thus creating the pedestrian/vehicular passageway into the the block courtyard.

Beneath the plaster of almost every building in the Lower City there is a brick wall, and in the Lower-City courtyards the small-format brick is often left completely exposed. Therefore the entire Courtyard Volume of the AluArtForum has an exterior lining made of that type of brick. That gesture, on one hand, speaks about the material that constitutes its physical environment, and on the other hand speaks about the custom to line the facade, but there is an inversion: that which used to be the load-bearing structure now becomes the lining of the reinforced-concrete structure. The appearance of massiveness achieved with such a lining is appropriate for the intention to make exhibition spaces introverted. Owing to such a treatment of the Courtyard Volume, the AluArtForum building does not just fit into the line of buildings in Ilica while turning its back towards the park, but it rather uses its position and materiality to enter into a dialogue with the inside of the block and the courtyard building of the Academy so that it creates the interior facade of the block. Finally, it should be noted that the brick kining is present in the contact zones between the Courtyard Volume and the Street Volume, within the interior space of each storey of the AluArtForum. Thanks to that, the volumes consistently coexist as two separate entities, which emphasizes the ritual character of entering the introverted mass of the Courtyard Volume and the exhibition spaces it contains.

Close relationship with the environment

The imperative of connecting Ilica with the park affects both of the volumes of AluArtForum. The Courtyard Volume is “porous” both towards the north and the south: In the north, there is a big glazed surface which contains the main entrance door, while on the south there is a big glazed surface which can slide open to pull the park into the interior. Between them is the main foyer, which can easily accommodate various uses, from being a coffee bar to being a space for presentations and promotions.

The element of surprise in the Courtyard Volume is the porousness towards the west, where the Courtyard Volume is at a distance of merely 1.5 meters from the neighbouring building. The Courtyard Volume has a “hole” there, whose width matches the width of the visitors’ wardrobe, which extends between two glazed surfaces right to the bare brick wall of the neighbouring building, thus giving the visitor the opportunity to intimately feel the brick that constitutes the entire physical environment around the AluArtForum.

Since the Courtyard Volume is detached from the neighbouring building to the east, the Street Volume fills the gap thus created in all storeys except the ground floor. This creates interior spaces with views onto the park, and which are used as little foyers for taking a break from experiencing exhibitions, or as spaces for educational workshops, panel discussions and so on.

The eastern wing of the Street Volume that is thus created has the task to establish a relationship with the neighbouring building with a particular gable. At the position of the vertical rift in the gable, which contains several openings, the AluArtForum building has a glazed light-well which separates the buildings allowing them show mutual respect for each other, while at the same time connecting them visually and allowing light to enter both. Since the first floor of the Street Volume and the first floor of the neighbouring building almost share the same elevation, that is where they are functionally connected by means of a bridge spanning the light-well.

A the top of the Street Volume, there are two roof terraces. The southern terrace is visually connected to the park, and the northern with Ilica. The experience of gazing from those terraces and hanging out on them completes the experience of spending time in AluArtForum, provides extraordinary vistas which enrich the experience of living in the city, and establish an analogy between using the park and using the top of the building.

The formation and effect of the street facade

Whereas the task of the Courtyard Volume is to use its appearance to convey something about its environment (in order to reveal its internal structure), the task of the Street Volume is to convey something about the time when the building was made, which is why it has a contemporary facade made of translucent and thermally insulated glazed panels. At the same time, the Street Volume and the Courtyard Volume are in dialogue with one another owing to the fact that they are both modular in structure. Whereas the module for the Courtyard Volume is the module of the small-format brick, the street facade is created via the superposition of the modular structure of the facade panels and the modular gradation of the size of the windows inserted into the panels.

Since the Street Volume is elevated off the ground in order to clear the ground floor, the top of its facade is higher than the cornices of adjacent buildings by as much as its underside is elevated off the pavement. Nevertheless, the Street Volume stays within the height of the adjacent buildings’ roof ridges. Although the Courtyard Volume is taller than the Street Volume, its height is within the maximum height of the existing line of buildings along Ilica.

The world of exhibition spaces

The Courtyard Volume, apart from its “porous” ground floor, is introverted in order to focus the visitors’ attention onto the art. On the inside, it is bare and honest: One can see the reinforced concrete structure of the walls, the cement screed of the floors, and the loadbearing ceiling structure (reinforced concrete/steel) with installations and lighting fixtures.

The first floor features the permanent exhibition space. In addition to the entrance door, the only opening in the envelope of that space is the glazed horizontal slit which provides the view of the park and the courtyard building of the Academy, thereby establishing a visual and symbolic conncetion between the permanent exhibition in AluArtForum, the permanent exhibition of sculptures in the park, and the ateliers where art works have been created for decades. However, neither the view nor the light infringe on the visitors’ art-oriented attention because the slit is low enough to provide the view only when one is seated. Therefore there is a resting bench next to it, molded with the same kind of concrete that is applied in the rest of the interior.

The second floor features the “black box”, i.e. the “film studio”: A high space without natural daylight, particularyl suitable for multimedia art, but also for screenings, contemporary theatre and other forms of performance art. The space is higher than the required minimum in order to be able to accommodate temporary audience-stands and or galleries.

The third floor of the Courtyard Volume features the “white box”: A space with uniform diffuse roof lighting without allowing views; a cloud of light, as it were.

Functional organisation

The AluArtForum building is functionally divided into three basic parts: the Basement Volume with the majority of the work – technical spaces (storey -1); the Street Volume (storeys 1 to 3 + recessed story) with some work – tehcnical spaces, work – expert spaces and extended communications; the Courtyard Volume (storeys 0 to 3) with the ground-floor public spaces, exhibition spaces and vertical communications.

The storeys of the Courtyard Volume and the Street Volume match on the first floor and the roof of the Street Volume/third floor of the Courtyard Volume. However, the second floor of the Courtyard Volume is flanked by the second and third floor of the Street Volume. That brings about the rationalisation of the height of the Street Volume’s storeys in the part that is dedicated to work – expert areas which does not have to have the large height of the exhibition spaces.

The Street Volume consists of the northern wing next to Ilica and the southern wing connecting Ilica and the park.

Public access

The main entrance to the AluArtForum building is from Ilica, where the pavement extends into the porch in front of the entrance. Porch is a transition space between exterior and interior space that is often applied in front of the public buildings of the Lower City. Here it emphasizes the representative nature of the building and the presence of the Academy of Fine Arts, an it creates a space for meeting and more intensive urban character. The porch is created by elevating the Street Volume so one enters directly into the Courtyard Volume, whose ground floor comprises the entrance hall (foyer), reception, gallery shop, wardrobe and sanitary facilities for visitors, and the coffee bar. The coffee bar is united with the entrance hall into one space, and it can be entirely opened towards the park in the Academy’s courtyard by means of the big triple sliding glazed door on the southern facade of the Courtyard Volume. The ground floor is thus the place for the visual and physical contact between the city and the park. From the park, one can see the coffee bar which, on warm days, becomes a covered terrace. From the city, one can see the windbreak, the reception and the shop-window of the gallery shop. Since these space are totally glazed, one can see through them into the building’s interior, and all the way to the park.

The entrance to the interior of the block, i.e. the courtyard of the Academy of Fine Arts, is also possible beside the Courtyard Volume, via the pedestrian/vehicular passageway near the eastern boundary of the plot, which respects the existing layout of the park (by tapping onto its pathway network) and provides an easy gable-wall entrance to the neighbouring building at Ilica 83.

The AluArtForum building’s first floor is linked with the first floor of the Ilica 83 building because the teaching spaces of that building are considered to be programmatically connected to the spaces in the AluArtForum. The link is established by means of a mild ramp, giving access to persons with impaired mobility, too. The ramp is located in the light-well that provides visual contact between the two buildings and respects the existing particular nature of the building at Ilica 83 (by not closing it), while simultaneously clearly denoting the difference between buildings and creating a break where they are linked. The ramp performs the roofing function of the existing roof which is to be removed. The ramp is adjacent to the extended communication (educational workshop) space in the AluArtForum building, which is considered appropriate because the teachers and students from the neighbouring building will surely use that space, both for their own purposes and for cooperating with the wider public. In addition to that, the first floor hosts the permanent exhibition space, which is to be studied by the students at the Academy. If need be, the two AluArtForum building can also be connected with the attic of the Ilica 83 building.

Service access

Service access is provided by the above mentioned pedestrian/vehicular passageway adjacent to the eastern edge of the plot. The minimum width of the passageway is 3.5m and the minimum height 4.0m, which makes it suitable for fire engines and cargo vehicles. The passageway is wider in the part that is located next to the service entrance and vertical communication in AluArtForum, which facilitates the loading and unloading of art-works and other items. The service entrance is also used by employees (primarily the technical staff) as it provides quick access to the basement.

Vertical communications

Considering the relatively small surface area of the building and the intention to encourage the meeting and communication of various users of the building, the solution with one staircase and one elevator is considered sufficient and rational. It must be noted that the staircase is divided into two segments: The part linking the basement with the ground floor is divided off by a wall with a door so that it be accessible only to the technical staff, while the rest of the staircase leads continuously from the ground floor to the uppermost exhibition space and the roof terrace.

The communication core is positioned logically in the place where the Courtyard Volume contacts the eastern wing of the Street Volume and directly next to the service access, which means that it connects all the functional segments of the building. The vertical communications core should preferably be designed as a separate fire-safety sector with high resistance to fire so that it can function as the evacuation route leading to safe exterior space in case of fire.

The elevator is a freight elevator whose dimensions are suited to the transport of art-works (as stipulated by the programme). However, the elevator also serves to transport persons with impaired mobility so it has to fulfill all applicable safety standards. The elevator door can be a safe (double) vertical telescopic sliding door, thanks to the big storey height.

The elevator provides a highly efficient route for the passage of art-works from the service entrance to the work – technical spaces in the basement, which shortens delivery time. The only area not served by the elevator is the part of the work – expert area that is located on the third floor of the Street Volume as it is located in between two elevator landings in the Courtyard Volume. That solution is considered functionally acceptable because it does not affect the accessibility of public spaces to persons with impaired mobility.

Exhibition spaces

Exhibition spaces are located in the Courtyard Volume and are structured vertically as three smaller, square-plan spaces of equal surface area, but different characters, as explained in the paragraph Concept: The world of exhibition spaces. The simultaneous occurence of two temporary exhibitions is considered sufficient for the majority of time, but the temporary exhibition spaces can easily be subdivided by movable partitions.

Less formal exhibitions can also take place in the extended communications, on the roof terraces, in the entrance hall and the porch in front of it, but also on the southern facade of the Courtyard Volume owing to the large part of its surface that has no openings and constitutes a neutral background that can serve to communicate artistic intentions towards the park.

The exhibition spaces are located next to the vertical communications core, which provide the connections with the public spaces of extended communication on each floor.

The permanent exhibition space and the “white box” for temporary exhibitions have the minimum clear height stipulated by the programme, whereas the “black box” for temporary exhibitions is higher in order to provide more flexible uses, including multimedia and performance arts (with the installation of removable stands and galleries).

Extended communication

The extended communication provides space for the meeting of various users of AluArtForum and for educational workshops, but it is equally important that it provides the opportunity for taking a break from the exhibition(s). That is why it is located next to the exhibition spaces, yet outside of the Courtyard Volume, in the eastern wing of the Street Volume with ample natural light and the view towards the “natural architecture” of the park. The extended communication spaces have an additional “outlet” and receive additional light from the light-well adjacent to the Ilica 83 building.

The extended communication spaces are different on each story so that they can provide different types of spatial experiences and increase the number of uses they can accommodate. On the first floor, the space is one storey high, on the second floor it is double-height, on the third floor only a gallery remains, while on the roof it comprises two roof terraces connected by a passage next to the exhibition equipment storage room.

The southern roof terraces overlooks the park and the courtyard building of the Academy of Finer Arts, and it also contains a roofed bar. The larger, northern terrace faces Ilica, but is in contact with the north, west and south over the adjacent rooftops. The terrace therefore literrally provide the users of AluArtForum with a new worldview, which contributes to the mission of AluArtForum and to the city as a whole.

Work – expert areas

The storage spaces for paintings and graphics and for installations and sculptures are located in the basement due to their big surface areas.

The storage space for photographs, films and video is located on the first floor of the Street Volume.

The second floor of the Street Volume contains the library and the research room for video and digital materials.

The third floor of the Street Volume contains the work spaces for the Head of Fundus and Curator, the archive, documentaion, kitchenette and staff sanitary facilities.

Work – technical areas

The art transport entrance and internal manipulative space are located on the ground floor and in the basement. The workshop, the exhibition equipment and extras storage room / general storage room, and the garbage disposal and sorting area are also located in the basement, next to the wide corridor (internal manipulative space) which serve the two big storage spaces. In addition to that, the basement contains the energy block (except the elevator engine room which is located above the elevator shaft and the ventilation system which is on the roof above the staircase) and the space for the work – technical staff (wardrobes, sanitary facilities, cleaners’ space with supplies and cleaning equipment and the break area for the staff).

The first floor of the Street Volume contains the exhibition preparation space and the security control and supervision room.

The second floor of the Street Volume, next to the research room for video and digital materials, contains the catalogues and digitalisation room and the photographic office and catalogue.

Each storey which contains an exhibition space also contains an exhibition equipment storage room.

Access for persons with impaired mobility

Persons with impaired mobility can use the elevator to each all storeys except the third storey of the Street Volume (a part of the work – expert area). If need be, in the future a lightweight glazed elevator can be installed near the light-well and use the light-well to access the third storey from the second.

All public areas are dimensioned so that they enable access for persons with impaired mobility, including the library and the research room for video and digital material. The disabled toilet is located on the ground floor, as a part of the visitors’ sanitary facilities.

Basic proposition of the installations technology

Heating and cooling installations

The basic assumption is that a building of such a profile must at least be a low-energy building because that is the only sustainable and in the long term feasible option, which can also serve as an example to its surroundings. Thermal insulation of the building skin per se is undeniably not enough to ensure that standard, although it is a necessary prerequisite for it.

The other basic assumption is the particular building function (storing and exhibiting art-works), which demands controlled microclimate.

Since the loadbearing structure is made of reinforced concrete, with a large mass of concrete required by the big design loads, it is rational to use the available thermal mass by executing a thermally active concrete core which will contribute both to the heating and cooling of the building by means of a system of tubes and temperature sensors built into the concrete. In the Courtyard Volume both floor and wall surfaces can be used, while in the Street Volume only floor surfaces can be used. An electronic system for central control shall ensure separate temperature regulation for each space.

The source of heat is a heat pump that shall be located in the energy block in the basement. Depending on the geological tests, it can either by water-earth (probe) or water-water (well). In the case of a water-water heat pump, the water from the well can be used as it is for cooling.

Air-conditioning installation

The air-conditioning system ensures the required quantity and microbiological standard of fresh air, the desired humidity levels and the microregulation of the air temperature. A central electronic control system shall ensure separate temperature regulation for each space.

The system of air-conditioning chambers and room-level regulators with temperature sensors shall enable activation of air-conditioning in offices only when someone is actually in the room. The installation is located above the suspended ceiling in the Street Volume, while in the Courtyard Volume it is integrated into the Holedeck structure described in the paragraph Structure: Holedeck structure.

The central control will enable the monitoring of the installations of heating, cooling and conditioning, as well as the presentation of monitoring results. Considering similar existing systems, the investment should return in 5-10 years.

Electrical installations

The building shall be connected to the city electrical grid and an optic cable. Power outlets and network outlets shall be present in all spaces and rooms, and special attention needs to be put into designing flexible lighting fixtures for exhibition spaces, which is made easier by the above mentioned Holedeck structure and the roof spaceframe. Lighting shall be designed in a special project which must ensure the proper light intensity level while avoiding glare, unwanted shadows and any danger to the art-works. In the “black box”, i.e. the exhibition space on the 2nd floor of the Courtyard Volume, setting up multimedia installations and theatric spotlight compositions shall be enabled.

In the Street Volume, lights shall be built into suspended ceilings, including the ground floor ceiling (exterior lighting). Using LED lights is recommended due to their longevity and energy-saving properties, their ecological quality and the possibility to apply different colours of light in order to create night-images of the translucent street facade in colouristic patterns which communicate something to the environment (for example, on the occasion of exhibition openings).

In case of a power out in the city electrical grid, an aggregate located in the basement is activated.

Running hot water prepration

Running water shall be heated by means of electric heaters.

Plumbing installations

The building shall be connected to the city water grid. Plumbing fixtures shall be present in the sanitary facilities, the kitchenette, the workshop, the cleaners’ space, the garbage space and the energy block in the basement.

Fire safety

The building shall have a fire-alarm system and a sprinkler installation, with smoke detectors, heat sensors and sprinklers in all spaces and rooms in the building. The sprinkler station is in the basement, and the installation is visually compatible even with the aesthetics of exhibition spaces thanks to the modular structure with visible installations within the height of the load-bearing ceiling structure.

Wastewater installations

The building shall be connected to the city sewage grid.

Loadbearing structure

The loadbearing structure shall be made of reinforced concrete, with a basement and five stories above ground. The maximum height above ground shall be around 23.90m, and the maximum depth below ground around 6.30m (total structural height of around 30.20m), i.e. between absolute heights of 116.67 and 146.87 meters above sea level. The height at the building, i.e. regulation line on the Ilica street is around 17.40m without the roof terrace fence, or around 18.80m with it.


The building shall have a reinforced concrete foundation slab, made according to the instructions from the geomechanical report. In addition to the geomechanical report, prior to the making of the structural design a design for the securing of the construction pit shall be made in order to ensure the stability of adjacent buildings. Prior to the execution of the foundation slab, the construction pit bottom shall receive a concrete base layer, waterproofing and thermal insulation, which will be connected with the waterproofing and thermal insulation of the vertical structure.

Loadbearing structure of concrete and reinforcing steel

The building shall have a system of loadbearing reinforced-concrete walls, beams and slabs. The walls’ reinforcing steel shall be connected to the foundation slab. In the basement, the RCC edge walls trace the boundaries of the plot and close off the interior as a watertight, thermally insulated box. In the central part of the building, the vertical communications space is surrounded by vertical loadbearing structure and takes on the role of a stiffening core which helps to resist horizontal loads. RCC walls around exhibition spaces stem directly out of the RCC walls of the core, thus encompassing the exhibition spaces wholly or partially on all sides. These walls continue up through all the storeys, as well as the communications core. The remaining RCC walls are located next to the neighbouring buildings and are properly dilated from them, continuously to the top of the third floor.

Exhibition spaces are spanned by the Holedeck lattice-type RCC structure, which is connected with the vertical loadbearing structure by means of reinforcing steel. It is thus also connected to the RCC floor slabs outside of the exhibition spaces, i.e. in the remaining portions of all storeys. RCC slabs rest on two or three sides. Where needed, they are supported by RCC beams with which they are integrated. The beams are in some places connected to the vertical RCC structure on both ends, while in some places they cantilever. The dimensions of loadbearing elements are approximate and generally take into account the large design loads.

Wherever uninsulated RCC walls in the exterior (next to the neighbouring buildings) continue into the thermally insulated structure, Schoeck Isokorb elements shall be used to avoid thermal bridges.

Holedeck structure

Holedeck structure above the exhibtion spaces is an innovative structural system of concrete and reinforcing steel which is executed in a lattice shape by means of modular molding elements that can be dissembled and reused. Holedeck enables the spanning of big spans and resisting heavy loads (economically up to 15m), and the placement of installation within the structural height of the Holedeck structure. That eliminates the need for suspended ceilings and technical floors and gives smaller story heights for equal clear heights when compared to usual construction. That is as significant factor for AluArtForum due to the large height of exhibition spaces.

The modular grid, the similarity with natural and artificial spaceframes and the high quality of surface finish provided by the molding make Holedeck appropriate for showing in the interior, together with the installations which can then easily be relocated (e.g. lighting fixtures) and cleaned. This approach is to be used in AluArtForum to make the space as adaptable as possible to the needs of various exhibitions and other events. However, if need be, Holedeck structure can be closed off from the bottom by modular elements. The modules are adjusted to the standard dimensions of ventilation, air-conditioning and electrical installations.

Other benefits of Holedeck include the reduced quantity of concrete in relation to ordinary RCC slabs, which makes the structure lighter and better suited to resisting horizontal loads, but it also reduces the ecological footprint. Furthermore, Holedeck performs better acoustically than usual concrete structures, and is equally good in terms of fire safety.

The system can be applied by contractors who do usual RCC structures following an extremely short training, provided the special molding is used. Two-way standard Holedeck system should be used.

Roof structure

Roof of the Courtyard Volume

The top exhibition space of the Courtyard Volume is spanned by a spaceframe of steel pipes connected by spheric connecting elements. The spaceframe consists of modules which are in line with the modular pattern of the Holedeck structure on lower storeys, and has a mild pyramidal shape required by the translucent roofing panels. The bearings of the spaceframe are connected to the frieze of the RCC structure of walls surrounding the exhibition space. The spaceframe bears the roof cover made of Kalwall translucent roofing sandwich panels.

On top of the elevator engine room and the staircase there is an inverse flat roof on an RCC slab. The roof above the staircase can take the loads from the roof ventilation installation system.

Roof of the Street Volume

On top of the Street Volume there is a walkable roof terrace (paved inverse flat roof) on an RCC slab and a boxlike equipment storage covered by a Kalwall roof sandwich panel on a lightweight loadbearing structure of steel columns and beems (IPE or HEA profiles connected by bolts, depending on statics calculations).


Exterior wall lining of the Courtyard Volume

Loadbearing RCC walls of the Courtyard Volume are lined with a layer of thermal insulation (polystyrene boards). The exterior layer of the structure is a lining wall made of high-quality small-format facade brick, with the normal bond. The wall is carried by typical steel bearings anchored in the RCC structure.

The brick lining continues between the Courtyard and Street Volume even in the interior, but without thermal insulation.

Street Volume Facade

The Street Volume is lined with the facade Kalwall sandwich panels on all facades. The panels are light and self-bearing, with bearings on the RCC loadberaing floor structure. The translucent panels simultaneously transmit light, serve as thermal insulation and enable the fitting of windows into the building skin.

Kalwall panels

Kalwall panels shall be placed on the facade of the Street Volume nad the roof of the top exhibition space. The panels consist of fiberglass surfaces on both sides, a substructure of aluminium frames with broken thermal bridges, and a filling made of translucent Lumira aerogel. The panels that are 100mm thick have a U value of 0.28W/m2K and block the ingress of infrared raditation while letting enough natural light pass through to eliminate the need for artificial light during the day. The light they transmit is completely diffues and without glare even when the sun hits the surface of the panel directly. The very structure of fiberglass is imbued with a UV-block (not just a surface film).

For all these reasons, Kalwall panels are the ideal choice for exhibition space where there shall be uniform natural roof light, but also for the educational workshops which can face south and recieve ample amounts of light with no heat-gain problems. Furthermore, they enable the work – expert areas to be converted into exhibition spaces in the future. In addition to that, the work – expert areas on the northern side of the building can receive ample amount of natural light while rationalising the surface of windows and providing good thermal insulation, which saves energy and enable a satisfactory level of privacy in comparison with a standard glazed facade.

The Kalwall panels come in several standard variants of the pattern of panel substructure, one of which has been chosen for this project for a good reason. Since the panels are oriented vertically in order to match the verticality of the windows on the surrounding historicistic facade, the composition is balanced by the horizontal subdivision of the panels surface, and the choice of the actual subdivision (Reverse Shoji) is made so that it emphasizes the modular nature stemming from the modular gradation of window sizes and the modular nature of the brick walls the building has a dialogue with.

Partitions in the interior

Glazed partitions

The public spaces on the ground floor (windbreak, reception, shop, foyer) and the communication spaces on the upper storeys (corridors and educational workshop) are divided from one another by aluminium-glass partitions with minimal frame dimensions (a system such as Keller minimal windows).

Gypsum fibreboard partitions

All other interior spaces are divided from one another by gypsum-fibreboard paritions on metal substructure. The substructure is periodically visible in order to emphasize its non-loadbearing character and thus establish a spatial-material hierarchy of structure. On the ground floor, the paritioned spaces have the same type of ceilings so that they create boxes with servant spaces, while on the upper storeys glazed surfaces fill the space from the level of the top of the doors to the bottom of suspended ceilings, thereby giving indirect light to the corridors.

Facade openings

Windows and doors of the Courtyard Volume

There shall be a system of minimal window such as the Keller system, with an aluminium structure with broken thermal bridges and triple glazing. All elements of the system are built into the thermal insulation layer, i.e. they are hidden in the space between the RCC structure and the lining brick wall so that the contrast between what is open and what is closed emphasizes the massiveness of the Courtyard Volume.

Windows in the Street Volume facade

The facade of the Street Volume shall have windows built into the Kalwall panels. The windows are aluminium-framed with broken thermal bridges and triple glazing. The windows are of four types based on the function on the rooms: windows for sanitary facilities, windows for archive-type rooms, windows for office-type room and windows for public spaces. A modular gradation of sizes is applied so that these windows have the ratios of sides as follows: 1:1, 1:2, 2:2, 2:4, where the module is 60cm.

Interior doors

Doors for people and works of art

The vertical communications core on each storey has a western and an eastern door. Due to the functional reasons of moving works of art, they have to be sized 240/350m. However, they are not treated as service doors, but as representative doors which connect the rooms and spaces open to the public so they have two leafs and they are glazed (except in the service entrance on the ground floor and in the basement, where they are full metal doors).

Other spaces

Normal smaller doors with metal frames and solid leafs.


The principle for choosing materials is that the loadbearing structure and the lining of the Courtyard Volume be made of basic construction materials (conrete, brick, steel) and clearly and honestly shown in the exterior and interior. All other materials passed through more stages of industrial processing so they are treated as lightweight/removable additions or skins. While the surface of the former elements are made of materials per se, the surface of the latter elements are white, grey or black skins.


Courtyard Volume

The public spaces on the ground floor and the exhibition spaces on the other storeys have floating impregnated mineral-cement screed resistant to use, and of high strength. The impregnation is transparent and the surface of the screed has the naturally irregular toning.

The same floor is applied in the basement.

Street Volume

There shall be floating cement screed with the top layer of natural linoleum that is highly resistant to use, toned grey.

Exterior ground floor

Exterior ground floor surfaces are extensions of the pavement so they have asphal as the top layer, placed on the concrete underlayer adjusted to the requirements of vehicle access.

Exterior floor of roof terraces

Roof terraces are paved with modular concrete slabs on plastic bearings which raise them above the layers of the inverse flat room.

Wall linings

Courtyard Volume

The exterior lining wall has already been described. The interior sruface of the RCC wall is smoothened by an impregnating lime-cement lining with the addition of acrylic resin. The lining protects the surface, simplifies maintenance, and hides the rhythim of concrete formin so that it does not draw attention to itself.

Gypsum-fibreboard paritions in the ground floor are coated with acrylic resin with a white gloss.

Street Volume

Gypsum-fibreboard paritions on the ground floor are coated with acrylic resin with a white gloss, or they are acoustically absorbing, depending on the acoustic-design project.

Adjacent buildings

With the approavl of their owners, the adjacent buildings will have the remains of plaster on galbe walls removed to expose the brick walls and impregnate them with transparent protective coating.


Ceilings in the Courtyard Volume were described in the paragraph Holedeck.

Suspended ceilings

Street Volume ceilings are suspended and feature white gypsum-fibreboards on metal substructure. They are water resistant in sanitary facilities. Where needed, they can be acoustically absorbing.

Built-in furniture


Counters on the ground floor (reception, shop, coffee bar) and on the southern roof terrace (roof bar) are constructed in the same way as the paritions – with visible frames of the metal supporting structure. They share the whiteness of the wall partitions.

Sitting bench

The sitting bench in the exhibition space on the first floor is a part of the permanent exhibition and it is cast with concrete, with the same surface as the walls and floors.