The Myst Museum / Appareil : Edouard Cabay, Jin Shihui, Davis Butner / Spain, Barcelona
The Myst Museum
A new museum for the city of Yaroslavl
Location: Yaroslavl, Russia
Team: Edouard Cabay, Jin Shihui, Davis Butner
Mist is a phenomenon caused by small droplets of water suspended in air. It can occur as part of natural weather or volcanic activity, and is common in cold air above warmer water, in exhaled air in the cold, and in a steam room of a sauna. It can also be created artificially with aerosol canisters if the humidity conditions are right.
Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, orconscious of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight.
The Myst Museum manifests its absence; it is light, floating in the air as a cloud, subtlety aligning with the ground yet framing a cathedral-like space where the light defies materiality.
The exquisite historical context, the structure of the city, the relation to nature, the proximity to the river, the intricate topography, the surrounding edifices and activities… many are the particularities of this site that invite its environing as a public space dedicated to culture.
Arguably, the museum already exists and we can consider that little would need to be transformed to transform this underused open space into the most prominent space of gathering and events of the city of Yaroslavl.
The Mist Museum proposal aims to respect the peculiar condition of the site; it simply covers this topographical cavity with a long and light elongated landscape providing both a natural public space, continuous to the level of the city above, and a very large open enclosed space below.
Taking advantage of the topography, the surface provides horizontal connectivity across the site; the wonderer can access this open public space from any direction, it therefore acts as a
central platform creating high connectivity between the different icons in this cultural environment and facilitating public activities.
The museum itself exists below the surface. Accessed from above and from the south street level, it is a space defined by light. The high performance structural system enables to create a punctured roof. The absence of structure is the key to the Myst Museum, the cultural program is open, and the flexibility of the space means that any type of event can happen: It is mainly a space for exhibition but can house fashion shows, concerts, theatre shows…
Much like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, the investigation of the project has led to unique and innovative form finding experiments, constructing the model upside down, subjecting an elastic membrane to weights. Finding homogeneous surface tensions, the structure is optimised and can therefore be built as two thin collaborating fibre concrete shells.
Myst doesn’t question the very organisation of the museum which is left open. Further investigation would address a variety of functional schemas and continue the attempt to relate this new cultural monument to its inspiring context.