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Kengo Kuma, Eskişehir, Museum

Modern art: Kengo Kuma’s museum building in western Anatolia

Inspired by the cantilevered upper storeys of Ottoman houses, the architects designed the ensemble in the form of eleven stacked and slightly offset blocks.  Embedded in the historic city centre with its colourful rectangular houses and network of narrow alleyways, the newly-opened museum building fills the vacant lot almost down to the last millimetre. Named after the city's former timber market, Odunpazari Modern Art Museum (OMM) pays architectural and cultural homage to the city.

The curtain walls in horizontal pinewood beams are particularly striking. Openings of various sizes deliberately reference its transparency while enabling outward and inward views for visitors and passers-by. The central atrium at the place where four of the offset blocks come together provides further special light conditions. Twisting upward through all the storeys, the cone-shaped light shaft ensures natural lighting for the interior and for good measure visually connects the different floors.

Over 3,500 square metres of exhibition space is distributed altogether over the three storeys of the art gallery. The combination of walls with a lime plaster finish and floors in pale oak forms a timeless setting for the art.  The exhibits include part of the collection of Erol Tabanca, the museum's private-sector contractor, who particular focusses on contemporary art from his home country.

A system of steps and ramps in front of the new building skilfully links up with the pathways of adjacent museums and opens out onto a lively plaza. Here the visitor is awaited by the museum café at the glazed entrance to the OMM as well as the neighbouring restaurant of a hotel working in collaboration with the museum.

For information on the current exhibition, see

A detailed print documentation is available in our issue DETAIL 11/2019 concerning the topic "Natural Building Materials".
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Further articles to the issue DETAIL 11/2019 are available here.

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