The main driving forces for the design of the New Maribor Art Gallery are based on a twofold concept: Continuity and Gradients. The continuous, swelling flows combine the interior and exterior space in a subtle way, creating a seamless connection between the outside garden areas of the new Maribor Art Gallery, the open plan ground floor level, and the river Drava. The trajectory of the curvilinear stream continues in a vertical motion along the ramp, rising into the upper levels. This motion creates a vertical cyclone, which serves as the main circulation hub for the gallery. Simultaneously it provides the gallery with the opportunity to show large pieces within this 22 Meter High space. The cyclone additionally serves as a light-well for the core spaces of the gallery. Radiating out of the central core, the different elements of the program can be reached easily, all those elements, such as the Children’s Museum, the Architectural Center, and the Library are directly connected to the cyclone.
In order to achieve maximum flexibility, and the possibility for future reconfigurations of the program, the space between the central core and the outside skin is kept very simple. In terms of construction, the basic idea is to establish a concrete table, featuring double-curved undulating surfaces that provide enough strength for a steel frame box sitting on top of it. This steel frame box provides the necessary freedom for future changes within the program.
The mass of the Gallery is compressed into this box, in order to create the minimum possible volume with the maximum of program. This step was a conscious decision to reduce the square-meters of the enveloping skin, and thus reducing the loss of energy. The compact form not only helps us to minimize the energy consumption, but we also generate a benefit for all the different segments of the gallery (Children’s Museum, Architecture Center, and UGM) as they all share the technical spaces, instead of creating additional technical spaces for individual buildings.
The proportions of the volume form a gradient in the urban design scale creating an in-between scale between the medieval structure of Maribor’s center and the adjacent contemporary constructions. The Mass of the gallery forms to this extent a joint between the urban textures.
The gradient chromatic effects on the façade are based on the idea to create a surface responding to its environmental pressures. The Whiteside of the building faces south, in order to reduce the amount of solar pressure on this façade, the deep purple side faces north. This gradually colored volume is covered by two layers of laser-cut material. The pattern on the sheets of the façade emerged out of a parametric script that responds to the program behind the screen. Areas that need more light are perforated more intensively, whereas areas that need protection from the sun are shaded by the overlaying patterns.