Kaspar Berbuer

Kaspar Berbuer

Museo Diocesano. RWTH Aachen (Germany)

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With one of the main development axes passing in front and one of the few parks stretching along the backside, the Basilika Sant’ Eustorgio emerges prominently out of the urban layout of Milan. Today its structure consists of the early Christian basilica and the monastery, which accommodates the Diocesan Museum. One of the two monastery courtyards was destroyed during World War II and later closed by a temporary structure. This project poses the challenge to design an extension of the existing museum while taking account of the spatial demands of Sant’ Eustorgio and the city Milan.
Basic design idea was to mirror the built structure of the former monastery. In place of the destroyed wing, a large house represents the counterpart of the basilica to balance the spatial structure of the complex and create a new reference point for the courtyard. The potential of the location as an encounter of street, park and courtyard is therefore acknowledged and intensified. Concerning the city’s scale as well as the proportions of nearby houses, the extension of the museum adapts and continues the city’s spaces as well as the ones of the former monastery.
The expansion of the narrow streetscape to a small square in front of the Museum provides opportunity to pause and arrive. Like a gate, the large house opens itself towards the square and stretches to the inside in form of a double storey hall. This hall serves as the museum’s entrance and foyer yet as the connection of street, park and courtyard. Analogously to the chapels of the basilica, small houses, lateral to the tall house, accommodate the new premises of the Diocesan Museum. The gable’s up and down and the varying depth of the small houses enables them to respond to the fragmentary backsides of the block development.

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