Cultural architecture, specially, museum architecture, is of significant social value and importance for the improvement of city image, and for the optimization of people's living environment. Consequently, it is significant to analyze such kind of architecture from various perspectives so as to explore its spatial constitution and functional organization. This paper generalizes and puts forward methodology to design interesting exhibition space, convenient traffic space and diversified rest space.
Generally speaking, museum architecture, belonged to the category of public cultural architecture, consists of museum, exhibition hall, gallery, etc. It aims at research, education and appreciation as well as collects, saves, studies, transmits and exhibits witnesses related to human beings and their environment (including objects or specimens of nature, history, culture, art, science and technology). (Tang et al., 2009)
Practically, museum architecture is able to present, collect and study collections. With the progress of era, it additionally possesses esthetic function.
In An Introduction to Architecture for Comprehensive Engineering Schools in Paris a monograph of Jean-Louis Dylan, he put forward the feature of museum architecture design, i.e., practical applicability. The audiences of museum architecture refer to the group that it serves. For audiences, the most intimate functional space in a museum architecture consists of three aspects, i.e., exhibition space ( Henderson, 2001), traffic space and rest space ( Henderson, 2001). Consequently, this paper focuses on investigating and analyzing these three spaces, so as to understand their characteristics and mutual relationship profoundly. By virtue of analyses of the data from the field investigation, the design methodology and philosophy is revealed, and can be provided as an essential reference for the design of museum architecture afterwards.
Sites of the investigation
(Table 1 and Fig. 1)
Hefei Kurume Friendly Art Gallery, Lai Shaoqi Art Museum and Anhui Museum.
Exhibition space types of the layout of exhibition rooms
Exhibition space acts as both the basic space in architecture, for instance, museums and the carrier of the exhibition. In general, plane layout of a exhibition room is divided into the following types, i.e., tandem type, radial type and hall type (Zhang and Zhou, 1998). The tandem type aims at connecting all exhibition rooms; its visiting circulation is specific and coherent but less flexible. As for radial type, all the exhibition room are arranged around the atrium or set along the hallway etc., which has strong flexible and selectable peculiarity. Besides, the hall type centers on centralizing most exhibition spaces into a comprehensive hall, whose layout is well-knit and flexible. However, it inevitably tends to result in overlapping visiting routes and noise interference.
In the three cases of investigation, all exhibition rooms in Anhui Museum (Fig. 2) are distributed around the atrium and the central space, so they belong to the radial layout. There are only two exhibition rooms in the Hefei-Kurume Friendly Art Gallery (Fig. 3 left), which are connected by one narrow aisle, so they should be classified into the tandem layout. Because there is no wall between every exhibition room of Lai Shaoqi Art Museum (Fig. 3 right) and its rooms should be included in the layout of hall type.
Exhibition arrangement of in the exhibition room
Overall, the most common way to arrange exhibition is to display exhibits along the wall or in the central area of the room in showcases. Specifically, in a general exhibition room, plane exhibits or small three-dimensional exhibits are arranged against the wall; and special stands are set up so that some large precious three-dimensional exhibits or plane exhibits can be displayed (Ding, 2010).
In order to perform a comparative study, one exhibition room is selected from the above-mentioned buildings, respectively. As a result, we find that the layout of the exhibition room unit is rectangular and its spatial use rate is relatively high. There is no negative corner in the space so that it will be more conducive for the arrangement of the exhibition, compared to the other two. According to the arrangement of every exhibition room (Fig. 4), it shows that both ways of all the three exhibition rooms are validly utilized to display exhibition, i.e., against the wall and on the stands. Moreover, it is found that each of them has at least two exits and entrances and their visiting route is specific and flexible.
According to Yang and Yan (2009), traffic space is the bond that links other kinds of space, so it plays a critical role in organizing the streams of people and guiding visitors.
On the one hand, Designers of Anhui Museum (Fig. 5 and Fig. 6) make full use of the space of atrium to organize transportation; on the other hand, they place various vertical facilities of transportation around the atrium. These installations not only guide the streams of people in the vertical direction but also enriches spatial perception. In detail, such layout enables facilities of transportation to be part of decoration and landscape in the atrium, forming a central space with artistic conception. More importantly, the arrangement of traffic space around the atrium makes visitors have a clear view and brings convenience to audiences simultaneously.
As Lai Shaoqi Art Museum (Fig. 6) is not large-scale, the main hall is only composed of staircase, an elevator and a ramp. Among such facilities, there is defect in the setup of the ramp. The reason for this is that the ramp is located in one invisible corner, where it is neither convenient for visitors nor esthetic to enrich the space. Since there are several floors in the museum architecture, the ramp takes up too much space, which results in spatial waste.
The exhibition rooms of Hefei-Kurume Friendly Art Gallery (Fig. 6) are settled on the first floor. Passing through the aisle, audiences can reach their destination. The staircase, hidden behind the wall, is mainly for emergency evacuation, and will not give any misguidance to audiences.
Relatively speaking, forms of rest space in museum architecture are diversified, which can mainly be divided into five types, as shown in the following content.
Syntagmatic relationship among exhibition space, traffic space and rest space
Being influenced by various factors, the layout of the public exhibition architecture, which is continuous in its spatial combination to satisfy the requirements of visiting routes, is diverse. However, spatial combination is basically divided into four types (Fig. 7), including tandem type spatial combination, radial type spatial combination, channel type spatial combination as well as spatial combination of comprehensive hall type (Zhang, 2008).
The spatial combination of Anhui Museum adopts both the radial type and tandem type. More specifically, every unit of its exhibition is arranged around the atrium in an emanative way and connected by aisles. For Hefei-Kurume Friendly Art Gallery, it purely uses the tandem type spatial combination with a circular streamline which is formed among hallway, western exhibition hall, eastern exhibition hall and courtyard. As for Lai Shaoqi Art Museum, it should be classified into the radial type spatial combination because all of its exhibition rooms directly lead to the atrium and cannot be linked directly by avoiding the atrium.
In accordance with Table 3, it is shown that the satisfaction with Anhui Museum is higher than that of the other two exhibition museums in terms of various indexes. The reason for this is that Anhui Museum is constructed latest compared with the other two exhibition museums. It was constructed after going through project bidding for a long time and optimizing design constantly. Although Anhui Museum is highly acclaimed, all kinds of ancillary facilities are not perfect at present because it locates at New Administrative Area which is a newly developed area in the city recently. Consequently, the number of its visitors is far less than that of other provincial-level museums. However, with the continuous development of New Administrative Area, there will be more and more audiences visiting Anhui Museum.
Conclusions of the investigation
By virtue of this investigation, the author has a more specific and more profound understanding of spatial constitution and functional organization of museum architecture. Meanwhile, by means of literature studies and analyses of field investigation, the author gives some advice on museum architecture:
Audiences not only pay attention to the exhibits themselves but also care the spatial environment around the exhibits. 24.1% of audiences will visit the exhibition because exhibits are attractive. Therefore, it is essential to arrange visiting routes and build interesting environment for visitors in the design of exhibition space.
Considering the fact that 55.3% of audiences prefer escalator and 21.8% of audiences choose elevator, convenient and efficient means of transportation must be provided in the design of traffic space. Under the condition that the scale of the exhibition museum permits, a priority should be given to escalator and elevator. At the same time, the design of evacuation must be accomplished.
85% of audiences choose to take a motor vehicle (including their own car, bus and taxi) to get to the exhibition museum, so adequate parking space should be provided. Meanwhile, arrange the transportation streamline of cars and taxies reasonably so as to avoid cross influence. Although only 5.8% of audiences choose bicycle as their transportation means, parking space for non-motor vehicles should also be provided in the design to encourage low-carbon lifestyle.
As we all know, comfortable rest space can help relieve fatigue faster. Thus, scattered setup of all types of rest space enables audiences to have a rest without having to go far, which enhances their favorable impression of the exhibition museum so that they will stay longer in the exhibition museum.
Zao Li, Qiong Wei, Hao He - College of Architecture and Art, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230601, China
Open Access funded by Higher Education Press Limited Company.
Tang Wangsong, Mao Zhenhai, Hua Jingke, 2009. Architectural Design Conception of Modern Museum, Huazhong Architecture no. 8, p. 126 (chapter 27).
Ding Xiaoyu, 2010. Architectural Space and Exhibition Design of Museums, ArchiCreation no. 10, pp. 164–171.
Yang Hairong, Yan Lei, 2009. The Museum Indoor Traffic Scheme, Sichuan Building Science no. 5, pp. 210–214 (Chapter 35).
Zhang Wenzhong, 2008. The Principle of Public Architecture Design. China Architecture & Building Press, Beijing.
Justin Henderson, 2001. In: Sun Shuo, (Ed), Trans. Museum Architecture. China Light Industry Press, Beijing.