haipng teow of ALOT collaborated with lapzhen wong of ZMA-design to created the omuli museum of the horse, with artist residences and accommodations for the existing historical omuli school building located in the north vidzeme biosphere reserve, latvia. throughout history and across culture, horses have frequently been the symbol of freedom, speed, and beauty, so designing a space for the display of such nobleness posed a new challenge on the designers.
new additions of the museum complex are expressed in curvilinear contradicting the existing rectilinear form of the omuli school
haipng teow and lapzhen wong’s aim was to manifest the symbolism so strongly associated with the horse into architecture. the designers asked themselves: ‘what does being free mean in the context of architecture placemaking – to remove the shackles, to set loose of oneself, and to celebrate the beauty of unbound?’ thinking along this direction, the design brief of the horse museum thus gets dismantled, reinterpreted and reassembled again building upon the notion of ‘freedom in architecture’ – in this case, eliminating the constraints that the site possesses to unlock its fullest potential.
new concrete walls imprinted with recycled timber from the original omuli school building run through the multi-volume exhibition space to create a dynamic spatial experience
the designers tried to turn site limitations into site opportunities, so the design of the new museum complex revolves around solutions that ‘frees’ the architecture from three main constraints which are time, space, and form. in the manner of subtraction and addition, internal partitions are taken down by parts to make space for new programs’ needs according to the phasing. the designers then used the recycled materials to rebuilt new accommodations around the existing building, simultaneously.
an array of walls seemingly cut across the omuli school in a sweeping motion, housing the villas in between and connecting them to the landscape and the existing building
in harmony, the subtraction of internal spaces for public exhibition and studio areas is offset by the addition of external spaces for the guesthouses and artist residences. the accommodations are reimagined as individual glass boxes set amongst the landscape. instead of rooms housed within the omuli school overlooking the green, nature is brought to the doorstep. an array of walls then intersect the glass boxes and the landscape in a sweeping motion that seemingly cut across the omuli school.
the radial walls constructed of recycled materials act as privacy and a wayfinding mechanism while slicing up the horizon into intimate frames as they slowly pace the visitor through the landscape
designed in a radial layout, these walls of randomized composition create a sense of perpetual rhythmic movement and tension as they run across the context and interact with the surrounding. from the visitors’ point of view, besides acting as privacy and a wayfinding mechanism, these walls slice up the horizon into smaller intimate frames as they slowly pace them through the landscape. recycled bricks from the demolition of the existing buildings are re-used to construct some of these walls, while the others using recycled timbers to imprint the concrete.
the accommodations are reimagined as individual villas set amongst the landscape. instead of rooms housed within the omuli school overlooking the green, nature is brought to the doorstep
having these radial walls in such a dominant gesture, they become a homage to the omuli school, as if carrying the DNA of its history and re-celebrate it with a new life. with these walls also doubling up as extended art displays in the park occasionally, the accommodations thus offer a unique getaway experience of getting lost amongst the green, the history, the art, and the architecture. freeing itself from these constraints, the architecture hence displays a kind of tension, breaking out from its mold, its wall, and its threshold.
removing the constraint of time
removing the constraint of space
removing the constraint of form
exploded axonometry of the horse museum
detail section of villa
name: the o-muli-seum
location: north vidzeme biosphere reserve, latvia
edited by: yasmina karam | designboom