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Human Evolution Museum
Juan Navarro Baldeweg

June 27, 2011 /

Burgos, Spain

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Photo: Val Vazquez Sequeiros © estudio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

The museum occupies a central position in the building and also in the project's origin, setting the goals in the overall building organization.

The project consists of a cluster of three-dimensional pieces - Museum of Human Evolution, Human Evolution Research Centre, Congress Centre and Auditorium - grouped into a compact unitary volume.

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Photo © Carlos Pesqueira

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Photo: Val Vazquez Sequeiros © estudio Juan  Navarro Baldeweg

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Photo: Val Vazquez Sequeiros © estudio Juan  Navarro Baldeweg

Metaphorically speaking, the pieces are: a basket, some boxes, and a cape that covers these objects. Two of the boxes are dark and closed, one is open on one side, the last one is a transparent box. The basket envelops the museum.

The dark boxes are the conference halls (large and small), the transparent box is an exhibition hall (for all sorts of objects) and the semi-open box is the research centre. The whole ensemble is covered by a flexible, waving sheet that shelters the various pieces.

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Image courtesy estudio Juan  Navarro BaldewegScheme

Human evolution and its study and dissemination in the museum are interpreted as something that has to be intimately related lo the territory, the land, the geological strata and nature in general, which is the frame of reference for all life and the depositary of information; the container for knowledge that has to be literally dug up.

In other words, the project needs lo include an abstract recreation of fragments of nature, land and vegetation. So the initial idea was to create a large structure which holds sections or fragments of the land, built with architectural tools and resources, in continuity from a large sloping platform that spreads outside the building opposite the river with the aspect of part of a gently sloping hill.

This inclined plane penetrates the museum perimeter that fixes it with an embracing gesture and forces its link lo the architecture. The top part of this platform organises the main entrances to the museum, with a belvedere facing the river and the Cathedral, and also holds the café and an outdoor area for visitors, benefiting likewise from the views and the spectacle generated by the museum and lecturing activities.
/ Juan Navarro Baldeweg


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Photo: Val Vazquez Sequeiros © estudio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

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Areal photo © estudio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

The museum interior is a large area with abundant top lighting. It houses the prisms or sections of earth that suggest fragments of the landscape at the nearby Atapuerca site. lt is easy to imagine this environment as a greenhouse in which the subsoil also takes on great visual importance.

The corridors or "gorges" boxed in between the prisms are used for educational presentations of the geological or paleontological aspects of the archaeological site. From these corridors one can appreciate the strata that define and contextualize the deposits of human and animal bones and the remains of their technology in the evolutionary process.

What they explain is expressed using architectural resources: the walls hold the information and at the same lime recreate the spatial experience of the excavation profiles and the strata of the land.

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Photo: Val Vazquez Sequeiros © estudio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

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Photo © Carlos Pesqueira

AI the rear of these large prisms trays or areas are set aside for a more conventional part of the museum, for objects and installations on three floors. These floors are linked by ramps that permit cross-views of them and, hence their exhibition areas, with the possibility of integrating their contents.

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Photo © Carlos Pesqueira

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Photo © Carlos Pesqueira

The basic ideas of the project can be summarised in the image of a landscape that has been cut into strips, expressed on the basis of a Kitaj painting; gorges like the "double negative" land art, created by artist Michael Heizer, in which the visitor's steps are accompanied by the strata of the walls. It is all sheltered by a folded, cut out and obliquely diverted roof, generated from a continuous film. The expression of this idea is accompanied by a chair in a cubist perspective, produced by Picasso on paper.

/ Juan Navarro Baldeweg

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Image courtesy estudio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

The building structure is both concrete and mixed concrete - steel. The siding material is a double screen system that combines transparent and silver glass opaque glazed surfaces, steel panels and amber stone. The roof is also aluminium and glass.

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Drawing courtesy estudio Juan  Navarro BaldewegSite Plan
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Sketch courtesy estudio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

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Sketch courtesy estudio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

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Model photo: Alexander Levi, Studio Juan Navarro Baldeweg

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Drawing courtesy estudio Juan Navarro BaldewegPlan Level One
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Drawing courtesy estudio Juan Navarro BaldewegPlan Level Threebaldeweg_19.jpg
Drawing courtesy estudio Juan Navarro BaldewegLongitudinal Section

Facts about Human Evolution Museum

Site area:

8.746,14 m2
Total Building area: 104.500 m2
Museum of Human Evolution: 24.300 m2
National Center Human Evolution Research: 12,500 m2
Auditorium, Congress, Exhibition Center: 33,300 m2

Architect:
Juan Navarro Baldeweg - Navarro Baldeweg Asociados SL

Principal in charge:

Juan Navarro Baldeweg

Construction Supervision:

Juan Navarro Baldeweg
Jaime Breton Lesmes

Quantity Surveyor:

Jose manuel Mendez Pozo

Collaborators:

Navarro Baldeweg Asociados SL

Construction Process Supervision:

Carmen Bolivar Montesa
Val Vázquez Sequeiros
Cruz Calleja Perucho
Maite Eizagirre Markaide
Adrian Hermosilla Minguijon
Pepe Del Cid Mendoza
Justo Ruiz Granados
javier Fernandez Contreras
Luis Alfaro Perez
Elena Barroso Alonso

Structural Engineer:

Jose Maria Fernandez, Proina SL

Mechanical Engineer:

Argu Ingeneria y Servicios SL
Carlos Ara
Tomas Alonso
Avelino Monroy

Acoustical:

Garcia - BBM
Vicente Mestre Sancho

Construction Manager:

Ortiz Construcciones y Proyectos SA
Inabensa
Aragon Izquierdo SL
ArranzAcinas SL y Arcebansa SA.

Quantity Surveyor:

Javier Renones Martin

Client:

Castilla-Leon Region Government
Burgos City Hall

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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