MAMAC (Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain) is a museum of modern and contemporary art located in Liège, Belgium. The home for the institution is a Beaux Arts building from the beginning of 20th century, with a basilica-like spacious arrangement, with naves covered with a glass roof. The building is located on an island, on river Maas, in Parc de la Boverie and was opened for the World Expo in 1905. The park is the biggest green area in the city centre and is also a listed protected monument.
Bygg has made design proposal an extension of the museum, (adding 6000 m2 of exhibition spaces, multifunctional auditorium, restaurant/café, and shop/library) and new connection between the museum/island and Calatrava’s newly built TGV station and new shopping mall.
The starting point of the strategy was the respectful approach towards the monumental park and river. Instead proposing an expensive and invasive pedestrian bridge, I proposed a water tram – a slower connection gives more time to observe MAMAC, the new extension and the park. Instead adding a new volume in the park and thereby destroying it, we have proposed to ‘plug in’ the new extension/towers into the two main rooms of existing building. The two towers are connected on the top by a glass sky bridge, giving visitors a breathtaking view on Liège. The plug-in extension can also become a new landmark of Liège. The towers, plugged into the mains naves, are free standing objects, placed in the spaces, keeping the spacious quality of the building intact.
New intension has intention to make MAMAC more open and inviting institution, that’s why all of the non museal program (shop, restaurant) and the free exhibitions are located on the ground floor of the existing building, accessible for every user of the park.
The museum program is located in the extension. The museum program is reorganized to fit in the limited spaces. For instance, the painting/picture gallery is organized linearly in the spiral tower, rooms for audiovisual projections are stacked as boxes on top of each other, creating the second tower, and the sculpture gallery is located in the sky bridge. The new arrangement and the routing (starting at the box tower, leading via the sky bridge towards the spiral tower) create a new great experience for the visitors and create challenges for curators.