Experiential Beer Garden (Castel Maggiore, Bologna, Italy, Competition)

Beer has always been a part of human history.  Whether it is the history of its discovery from Ancient Egypt, its commercialization, its part in the entertainment industry, its pairing with food, or its technological development, beer makes a significant contribution to human social development and interaction.  Its greatest modern era contribution inarguably is its status as a democratic drink when people of different classes or status can come together and chat over a glass of beer in a bar, a restaurant, a sports or entertainment event, or, for that matter, any place where exchange of thought occurs and democracy can thus thrive.  The proposed design of the Experiential Beer Garden is to highlight this phenomenal contribution.

The project is to be located in a former aging cellar with its barrel roof already implying what it could represent.  If the existing building is the container (beer barrel, bottle, or glass) then the rest of the design must reinforce the content: beer, with all its aspects.

Five elevated circular glass walled loops were inserted in and out of the existing building to display beer’s history, its role in commerce, its part in entertainment, its technological production, and its relationship with food.  The inner glass walls are colorful informative displays, allowing visitors to learn and be educated, as well as to witness and observe the real life setting with beer below; the outer glass walls are clear, which allows visitors to enjoy the surrounding building complex, park and the larger context of Castel Maggiore. These loops in essence are an elevated beer museum portion of the project.

Where those elevated loops intersect, round concrete slabs are placed to mark places of interactions and entrances to the building as well as each programmatic component on the ground level.  They are also where visitors can congregate inside and outside and find stair access to the elevated loops and laboratory on the upper level.

The programs are distributed to each quadrant of the existing building with the laboratory inserted in the center of the upper level.  Services such as a kitchen for the restaurant, elevators, and restrooms are located below the laboratory in the middle on the ground level, allowing the whole perimeter of the building to have public face from the roads, the park or the adjacent building, displaying the beer related activities within the building to the outside world.  An amphitheater and outdoor stage are added to reinforce the entertainment loop and engage the building to the park.

Lastly, beer bottles around the world are used to shade the building and strengthen the building’s identity.  Dark colored bottles are located on the west side followed by medium dark on the south and light on the east, while the north side is completely clear and openable to the park.

Like the bubbles inside and the foam spilling out of a glass of beer, all of the components inside and around the existing building from the circular glass walled loops to the tables, counters, merchandise displays, and light fixtures are round, circular, or spherical in varying sizes, making the building like a glass of beer for the outside world to taste, enjoy, and experience.



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