The project for the extension of the Zacheta Art Gallery was an unbuilt project developed by Polish architects Oskar and Zofia Hansen, with Lech Tomaszewski and Stanisław Zamecznik, in 1958 and presented one year later at the Otterlo CIAM, (the last one before the Team X took over). The project is a cubic volume connected to the ground through four corner pillars, hosting technical spaces and secondary stairs, and with the entrance stair located in the center, thus leaving the ground floor completely open. The main volume is enveloped by a three-dimensional metal grid generating a sort of double façade. Technical systems are exposed in the space between the interior volume and the one defined by the grid. The façade of the interior volume is composed by identical squared elements which can be uplift revealing a continuously variable series of openings. Two sets of stairs and enclosed bridges connect the extension to the original gallery.
Both the plans and the elevations are explorations of neutral surfaces which could vary through time. They can adapt to changing uses and conditions and highlight human activity which would happen in the interior space. At that moment, Oskar Hansen was developing the concept of “open form”, an attitude toward reality which could be applied to every art and which could specifically be expressed through buildings able to programmatically evolve over time. In the case of the Zacheta Art Gallery extension, the concept is embodied by a system of movable stairs and slabs which would allow for a continuous reconfiguration of the different floors.
The artistic convention of Open Form consists of shaping the cognitive space, which is construed as a background highlighting the ever-changing events in the life of nature and of man. The idea is to harmoniously integrate Earth’s biological life forms with the space of human activity. Respecting the recipient’s individuality, Open Space art creates a spatial atmosphere conducive to reflection, thus opposing the art of a dominant object in space – the cult of dogmatic dictates.” Oskar Hansen
As noted elsewhere, this projects appears as a precedent for the Fun Palace, which Cedric Price started to sketch in 1963.
Images: Photographer unknown.
The road, another project by Oskar Hansen on Open Form, on SOCKS.