Particular considerations on the design and construction of museums / WU Lei
WU LEI Chongqing museum of natural history As a special kind of public cultural facilities, museums are obviously different from many other public buildings in various aspects. They are supposed to assume such missions as cultural relics, relevant research, exhibition display as well as public education. Therefore, the construction of museums should focus on, aside from other common designs of similar public buildings in overall structure, fire-fighting consideration, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment, electric and water supply winding displacement, the designs of collection warehouses and exhibition area. In recent years, with the expansion of economy and social causes in China, public museums have been mushrooming throughout the country, including newly-built, renovated and enlarged ones. At present, the construction of state-owned museums adopts the agent-construction management model. That is, the investment comes from local governments and the construction firms act as project owners; the latter in turn choose some other firms to work on the designs, the construction and its supervision, auditing, just to name a few, through public bidding so as to ensure fairness and quality of the entire engineering. However, as many project owners and designers lack knowledge about the functional features of museums, they tend to neglect it when designing the museums.
That ’ s why some newly-built museums face embarrassment in the improper internal structures. Below are my comments and suggestions on the construction and installation of museums based on my work experience.
1 Focus on the functions
The internal space of a museum building is divided into the exhibition area, the public service area, the office area, the collection warehouse and the equipment storeroom, each of which ought to have its specific requirement for design in line with its function. Many of the requirements should be higher than those for common public buildings set by the government so the design of each museum build-
Abstract Based on the particular functions of museums and the author ’ s relevant work experience, this essay expounds the issues on the design and construction of museums, and provides references to similar designs and constructions. Keywords museum construction, architectural engineering, installation engineering, display and exhibition
ing should be made after conducting full survey and argumentation. Among others, the problem that the cost factor is higher than the functional factor must be properly solved.
1.1 Conform to the special requirements by the industry
Properly keeping the relics collected by a museum is undoubtedly among its key work and thus should be given top priority to. In order to accomplish the mission, a museum must pay enough attention to such work as storage, preservation as well as guarding against theft and fire.
(1)The warehouse should be located in a place that can ensure the safety of not only itself but also its passages. If its location makes it lack safety, especially with its doors in improper places, even directly leading to the outside, it is at risk. Thus, its best location should be in the central part or underground of a museum. Besides, the number of its doors ought to be as small as possible and their places ought to be easy to inspect, instead of abiding by the normal fire protection requirements.
(2)The warehouse should be waterproof and moisture-proof. There are various factors affecting the preserv ation of relics, among which moisture may rank the first, especially in the southern regions of our country. Therefore, the floor of the warehouse should be paved with a multilayer combination of rigid waterproofing and flexible waterproofing materials and its walls made of waterproof concrete. It is advisable that the warehouse have not windows, which may affect the overall water resistance. The underground water around the warehouse deserves attention;0 no water should be allowed to flow from low places to high places with mechanical help. Water must be used in a safe way in the warehouse.
(3)When planning the collection storage area, the designer should leave enough space for the relevant work area, such as the laboratory which ought to be
convenient for the trip between it and the warehouse and for its isolation from the warehouse in case of emergency.
1.2 Avoiding water leaks
tic signed and tends expressiveness, external In to to order bring have walls to difficulty a show special many built historic to look, of museum the exotic waterproof significance even buildings materials, with efforts their and are which artis- roofs and degive can result rise to in water the increasing leakage problems. humidity in Water the museum leakage and even mildew of the organic relics. The humid condition is likely to attract insects and mice. This problem may cast shadows over the experiences of visitors in the museum and thus affect the reputation of the museum. Therefore, this problem should be on top of the agenda before and during the construction of a museum so as to keep balance between the architectural beauty and the safety of exhibits.
(1)It is advisable to reduce the types of roofing materials as much as possible and the seams on the roof so as to achieve the integrity of the waterproofing system.
(2)Design the drainage system on the roof carefully. The designer should have the overall roof structure in his/her mind and try to know more about the local trend of rainfall as well as predict the rate and direction of rain runoff on the roof so as to avoid water pooling.
(3)It is essential to make a multilayer waterproof ing system on the roof and protect its surface well.
1.3 Determining the heights of exhibition area by its potential functions
mong The the essential heights of factors exhibition for the area prospective ought to exhibi-be ations of a museum, especially a natural museum. For example, some dinosaur specimens are over 10 me ters high so that they often challenge the heights of exhibition area of natural museums, some of which
have to lower the floor of the exhibition area, with the pipelines under it rearranged, thus increasing the cost of exhibition. Therefore, the museum concerned should work out a scheme of promising exhibitions so as to predict the different heights of the exhibition halls according to their respective potential functions. The construction firm should design the exhibition halls with different heights in line with their potential needs, taking into consideration the deployment of pipelines as well as cost control at the same time.
2 The installation engineering combined with display and exhibition
air-conditioning The installation system, the engineering fire fighting involves linkage con- the trol system, the security system, the electric supply system, the water supply system and the drainage system. At present, both construction and installation of a new museum are undertaken by the bid-winning enterprise, while the exhibition work that does not start until the completion of construction and instal
’ lation seems to have no relation with them. That s why in some cases, the installation has to be altered to meet the needs of exhibition.
2.1 Properly designing the auxiliary systems hidden in the ceilings of exhibition halls
system, the smoke The the auxiliary control drainage system, systems system, the the involve electric fire-fighting the bridge ventilating and system, the electronic bridge, etc., which are complex in terms of not only layout but also qualifications. As the installation of the auxiliary systems may be undertaken by workers from different firms, they tend to perform their respective tasks in their own ways so that the above-mentioned systems may be laid in confusing ways and directions. In order to avoid the embarrassing problems, the exhibition schemes and the layouts of the exhibition halls should be rendered to the designers prior to the installation so that the two projects can match.
2.2 Designing the fire fighting control system according to the materials of exhibits
Museums are open to the public and often attract lots of visitors. Many of them collect considerable precious relics, which entail a high standard of fire fighting control systems. Therefore, on the basis of the National Code of Design on Building Fire Protection and Prevention, we must adopt different fire fighting measures and design different fire fighting control systems in accordance with different features of museums that have different relics or exhibits in terms of materials. For instance, natural museums have a lot of specimens of various animals, plants and fossils, which may be quite different as far as their combustion characteristics are concerned. If the fire fighting control systems in them are chosen in line with the regular standard, they can hardly achieve the ideal performance. We can improve the situation through the following three measures:
(1)Treat the exhibits according to their combustion characteristics. In general, the authorities of museums attach importance to the fireproof property of the construction and decorative materials but they are likely to ignore the risk of fire incurred by the exhibits. If the combustion characteristics of exhibits are of high risk, there must be proper intervals between them so as to prevent flame from spreading to other exhibits in case of a fire.
ing to (2)Choose different automatic functional fire areas. alarm In collection systems accord- warehouses, automatic gas fire extinguishing systems are installed while in exhibition halls, automatic sprinkling fire extinguishing systems are widely used so as to ensure the safety of visitors. When making the choice, the authorities of a museum should put the safety of visitors first.
(3)Design the mechanical smoke evacuation vents in light of the property of different exhibits. Different sorts of exhibits are sensitive to smoke to
different degrees in case of a fire. If the smoke evac uation vents are rigidly designed according to the normal requirements, they may not be able to evacuate smoke as efficiently as possible.
2.3 Designing the safety and protection system properly
A perfect safety and protection system is crucial to the normal operation of museums. In order to guarantee the safety of both exhibits and visitors, three factors must be focused on: the security personnel, technology and devices. The designers should make efforts to keep balance between the safety of exhibits as well as visitors and display effects or achieving all-round supervision of exhibition halls and reducing the negative effect on visiting experiences to the lowest extent. Below are the three aspects that should be focused on in order to improve the security work:
(1)Besides improving the professional quality, the authorities of a museum should make the security personnel become familiar with the overall layout of the museum as well as the hazard sources and hidden dangers in the museum, especially in the exhibition halls.
(2)Intensify protection of exhibits. The safety of exhibits should not be neglected in pursuit of zero distance between exhibits and visitors. Obviously,0 the completely open exhibition model faces various risks so measures should be taken to protect exhibits, such as isolating the fragile or delicate exhibits from one another with fences or glass.
(3)Avoid the unique importance of the number of security cameras and alarms. Actually, it is not that the more cameras, the better. The ideal of “no dead angles” and “no dead areas” can hardly come true. Installing too many cameras may lead to false alarms, which is also a waste of money. A better
way to determine the proper number and location of security cameras is to have exact knowledge of the layouts of the exhibition halls, the hazard sources and the places that attract visitors.
to public the turnkey follow special In buildings, summary, project the requirements regular model yet the it construction rules also isolates for deserves for museums. the the of construction consideration museums construction In fact, needs and the of of installation hibition missions of a museum of this from industry, the collection thus tending and ex- to cause reinstallation or even renovation. Therefore, the construction firms and the museum concerned should have communication about the special requirements for the construction and installation of the museum from the very beginning, giving full consideration of the particular functions of the prospective museum. Only in this way will both sides have no regret left.
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（ 2016-11-07 收稿； 2016-11-27 修回）
作者简介：吴磊（ 1978—），男，硕士，从事博物馆工程建设工作， E-mail: [email protected]。