A pleasant result

Designing an architectural space to house art was a challenge that the expansion to the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary art faced right from the beginning, particularly since the appointed architect, Xanthippi Heupel (also one of the museum’s founders) had to work within the limits of the given space. This space was essentially a long passage, a road that separated the former boundaries of the museum from the adjacent pavilion. Works began in the year 2000. Completion was planned for the next year, but the emergence of 200 ancient tombs during the works delayed the project for 12 more months. Two large tombs dating to the Roman period have been left intact and can be seen through a glass floor especially designed for that purpose on the museum’s ground floor. A general description of the museum’s new wing is of two parallel levels that resemble long, broad corridors and are connected to the rest of the building through various entrances and linked by two wide, glass staircases. The top story is a unified space in which both ends are visible from all viewpoints. At one end there is a large amphitheater planned for conferences and other events, while at the other, a space has been kept for a library. The ground floor seems less unified as it is divided into small rooms reserved for the projection of video works or installations. There are also areas designed to house large sculptures. Although one suspects that this is a hard space to work with, Heupel has turned it into a place that has a pleasant effect. There are no huge rooms, but rather than count this as a defect, this is what gives the space a certain warmth. There is also a certain logical flow as well a sense of change and surprise as the visitor walks through the different parts of the museum and finds himself where he first began in a cyclical route.