The new Museum of Contemporary Art building


The move to the new building of the Museum of Contemporary Art is scheduled for the second half of 2007.

It is with great impatience that we await the moment to open the doors of our new building to the public. In addition to a permanent exhibition of foreign and domestic collections of contemporary art from the fifties to today, the public will be able to enjoy various contents of the Museum, from periodic large-scale exhibitions, film screenings, theatre performances and concerts to presentations, lectures, and children"s playgroups.

Following long-standing attempts to situate the Museum in a suitable space, whether through adapting the existing space or moving to a new building, a decision was passed in 1998 to build a new museum in Novi Zagreb, at the intersection of Avenija Većeslav Holjevac and Avenija Dubrovnik. In the summer of 1999, following a national solicitation for tenders that was announced by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and the Zagreb City Council and carried out by the Croatian Architects" Association, the submission by architect Igor Franić was selected from among the 85 entries.

In May 2001, the Croatian Ministry of Culture and the City of Zagreb concluded an agreement on the construction of the Museum of Contemporary Art building by which they took on the obligation of securing the necessary funds for the building of the Museum in equal scope. The City of Zagreb provided the land for the building.

The location permit for the building was acquired in December 2002, and the building permit in February 2003. The foundation stone of the new Museum of Contemporary Art building was laid on 17 November 2003 . Construction works are developing successfully and according to plan. According to the agreement, the deadline for finishing the Museum building is by the end of 2006.

Respecting the tradition of rational, functionalistic architecture, Igor Franić has designed a building that stretches north-south, continuing the direction of the Green Horseshoe in this way, and taking up a total surface area of some 14 500 square metres, of which 4 800 are foreseen for the exhibition spaces. The north side of the Museum building, turned towards the Lake Bundek forest, is envisaged for outdoor exhibitions. This geometrically divided volume with its five floors, adjustable sections, whose form is reminiscent of a meander, is expected to become a recognizable emblem of the city in the near future.

The new Museum building belongs to the group of museum buildings which in their appearance alone, in contrast to closed monolayered volumes, reveal the concept of the architectural mass based on a clear division of museological functions.

The subterranean level contains spaces for the reception of art works, an audiovisual studio, accessory spaces for technical services and restoration workshops which are situated in the inner glassed courtyard in order to receive as much natural light as possible.

The ground floor is dedicated entirely to various contents for visitors - from the Museum shop, children"s workshops, a library with reading room, to a smaller exhibition space, a restaurant and multimedia halls. All the spaces are designed to be quite functional, for example the multimedia hall with 250 seats has its own door from the northern side, while the restaurant extends through to all the levels so that it is possible to use it for exhibition openings on other floors. The exhibition spaces are located on the Museum"s floors, whose construction is reminiscent of a meandar. Igor Franić has created neutral spaces - smaller, larger and medium-sized halls - which can be used independently, simultaneously, or combined. Spaces which give way to the enlarging, reducing and interweaving of the permanent display and the space of the temporary exhibitions, and which offer different possibilities for exhibiting the most diverse materials (the smaller darker spaces for video, the higher spaces for large and heavy sculptures, etc.).

Franić"s architectural expression offers an ideal framework for today"s contemporary activities, and its openness and nondogmatic approach leaves plenty of freedom for accommodating new technologies and new museological imperatives.

The permanent display of every museum is its most important segment which ensures its standing within a set cultural milieu. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb with its entry into this new building will have the opportunity to present its permanent display which is the result of fifty years of its activities and the dedicated work of its employees. The main author of the permanent display is Leonida Kovač who, in cooperation with the other experts, has been working intensively on the conception of this display in the last few years. The concept of the permanent display will be announced immediately before the actual opening of the building.

The permanent display will be conceptualised in such a way so as to present the most valuable artistic works from the Museum"s collection, at the same time contextualizing them within the historical events of the 20 th century in Croatia and internationally. In this way the cultural specificities of certain art phenomena will be emphasized taking into consideration special geographical and socio-historical conditions, and particular emergences will be brought into connection with contemporary manifestations in international art. The permanent display will also highlight the historical moments that changed certain artistic paradigms. In addition to its basic conception - and that is the presentation of Croatian and foreign art after 1950 - the Museum will present the major works of Croatian contemporary art of the first half of the 20 th century among which many had far-reaching influence on the development of the art of the second half of the same century.


Photo: Jasenko Rasol

(c) Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb -

(D.H., 09.01.2009)