GAMeC Museum

C+S design for the new GAMeC museum in Bergamo.

The project is granted 6M euros from the Fondazione Banca Popolare di Bergamo.

C+S design of the new GAMeC- Gallery for Modern and Contemporary Art in Bergamo completes the urban area between the Ex-Caserma Montelungo and the Accademia Carrara.

The new GAMeC will be developed through the retrofit of the building which houses a sport centre in Via Piacentino. Cappai and Segantini opt not to demolish the existing building. Instead they use the space potential gained after the demolition of the sport arena, confirming the role of the public  building in the mental maps of the citizens of the city of Bergamo and reinventing for it a new programme and interior urban space.

“Retrofit means enhancing the existing building with new programs and cutting edge technologies, in order to extend its life. We inherit from the past generous spaces that would be difficult to imagine today due to the lack of resources and space in the European cities. We believe in the necessity of reusing buildings and urban complexes as new regenerated spaces for people and communities. In this sense the retrofit operation is resilient and is an exceptional tool to traslate the community heritage into future heritage”- write Cappai and Segantini.

The project radically transforms the existing structure of the building through the demolition of the sport arena, but maintaining the elliptical sequence of the structural concrete-made pillars and revealing the brick portions cladded among them.

The design process is the real invention of the project with a series of operations put in place to gradually consolidate the existing structure with the new graft which houses the museum.

The design becomes a bridge between the past and the future: on one side maintaining a strong character of the original structure, on the other liberating a four storey high interior space to house the new art galleries.

The building lays on a piazza which is slightly higher than the street level, to which it is connected through a series of ramps granting the complete accessibility to the building.

The foyer is projected towards the outside and becomes a threshold between the city and the museum.

The elliptic volume is cladded with stainless steel curved panels on which is laying a new translucent volume, which houses a coffee and a restaurant opened towards a panoramic terrace looking at the city of Bergamo and its landscape.

The ground floor is a free floor where it is possible to activate different activities with different stakeholders- leisure, commercial, exhibitions and so on.

Inside, the four floors height space explodes with the richness of its materiality, which defines the character of the museum: the concrete structure, the brick-made cladding and the signs of transformation are memories of the past in dialogue with the suspended opaline volume which houses the exhibition spaces, accessed through a monumental stair.

Particularly accurate is the definition of the exhibition spaces, due to the great value of the collection. The transparency of the perimeter is possible thanks to a modular system which grants the light diffusion together with a correct acoustic insulation.

The museum route fluctuates between the art exhibition and views toward Bergamo, becoming a machine to enjoy the city from unusual viewpoints.

In this way GAMeC transforms the city itself in a museum to be completely enjoyed on the top floor panoramic terrace at the end of the journey.


Architecture, urban and interior design: Carlo Cappai, Maria Alessandra Segantini

Structures: F&M Ingegneria

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GAMeC Museum