The private museum is dedicated to the art and teaching of Ercümend Kalmik (1908-71). The project consists of the restoration of a late 19th century house containing the permanent collection and the addition of a two-level annex, which serves as a gallery for temporary exhibitions and other artistic activities, placed behind the house, leaving a small courtyard at the lower level. The upper levels of the two structures are connected by an almost transparent bridge that embodies the link between past and present.
The visitor, entering from the main door of the old house, proceeds up a marble staircase to visit the museum, then passes across the bridge through the gallery, finally reaching the garden. On the ground floor, the original entrance hall of the old house also provides access to the office rooms on the left and to an additional exhibition hall on the right. This hall, the old coach entrance, leads to a paved courtyard over which the bridge can be seen. Across this courtyard, the ground floor of the new building contains a multi-functional room that can serve as an extension of the gallery space above, as an atelier, or as a conference room.
The garden rises in stepped terraces at four distinct levels up to the rear end of the lot and also connects to the service entrance to the West. Although part of the garden had to be excavated, the architect carefully preserved some of the existing trees, the largest of which determined the extent of the annex to the rear. The walls along the two sides of the lot, made of ashlar and brick-coloured mortar, contrast with the modern character of the annex building but are subdivided into sections by a concrete frame of the same finish as that of the new gallery, giving a tectonic unity to the entire design. They also help isolate the successive spaces - the courtyard, gallery, and rear garden - from the neighbouring structures.
The annex was conceived as a low building, not only to harmonise its mass with that of the old building, but also to achieve a contrast with the overpowering presence of the surrounding structures. It is aligned with the geometry of the old house and detached from the side walls. The new building is conceived as a visual expansion of the old house toward the garden, its frame structure filled only by large glass panes.
Restoration of the old house has retained most of its original structure and spatial order. The only transformations on the upper floor are the repositioning of the windows on the back façade and the creation of a wide arched opening between the two main rooms facing the courtyard.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture