Museum of Contemporary Art

Franić’s project generates “its own city-planning” within the borders of the site forms an ample square that slowly rises towards the large “hovering” mass of the Museum which covers the open public space.

The monumental dimension of the colonnade is in logical proportion with the scale of the building, but also with the wider context, while the mass covering the porch contributes to dramatic impression. The entire ground floor of the Museum is open to movement, conceived as an extension of the square with the main entrance, restaurant and library, each with a separate access. The glass envelope of the ground floor is not unified, but diversified, which indicates different amenities.

It is obvious that the ground floor is the place of transition between public city space and museum halls.

This spatial sequence is unambiguously just a preparation and a part of the scenario of movement suspense and experience of the building before entering the exhibition halls.

Franić formed the body of the building as a geometrically very simple solid of approximately square ground-floor plan, whose cross-section is “folded” in the form of a meander. The configuration of the exhibition space directly emerges from this cascading cross-cut, so that the museum develops in a series of linear stretches vertical to the lateral, meandering profile of the structure.

The body of the building is perforated by three vertical intrusions, of which two are also visible from underneath, while one skylight reaches the underground level. In its basic geometric scheme, spatial organization is simple; it is always of the same length on the x-axis, fixed through the matrix of an entirely consequential system within a square grid. In spite of pure Euclidean geometry, the manipulation with x-y-z axes is basically not founded in a logical or immediately readable spatial system, but it is rather a series of specific situations and a variation of relations inside-outside, up-down, and wall-transparency-translucency.

Unexpectedly, light is not admitted into the interior from the lateral sides of the meander, but on the contrary, through horizontal stretches that run along the body of the building on the y-axis and vertical intrusions in the z-axis. Although natural light is not zenithal, it always reaches the interior indirectly, through interstices, atriums, and stretches set high above the ground.

Exhibition spaces are not articulated either as a classical series of “white cubes” or as entirely open, fluid space, but rather as a series of relatively large halls of different configurations, divided into subspaces specifically adapted to micro-situations of the permanent display. The lateral sides of the meander are not intended for exhibitions, so that in the western part, along the large glass wall, an informal “rest area” is set up.

The eastern stretch is occupied by offices and other auxiliary rooms. Like programmed mini-towers, two vertical blocks with autonomous usage routines rise through the core of the structure: the block with a restaurant that stretches from the ground floor over the first floor to the roof terrace and the block that contains the library.


Project Type


Zagreb, Croatia/Hrvatska

Related links


  • Studio za arhitekturu d.o.o.
  • Filip Beusan, Damir Fabijanic