Claudiu Ionescu is the architect behind Romania's very first digital museum. Situated near the Mures Floodplain Natural Park in the town of Pecica, the unusual and chapel-like museum features a sweeping green roof and dramatic spire facade at its rear. When the sun hits the building, its shape, along with the surrounding courtyard, transforms the museum into a giant sun dial.
Apart from its unusual structure, the new museum is home to the latest 3D technologies, which allow visitors to virtually explore various museums and artifacts from around the world.
"Visitors can expect to see whatever they choose to see. It's a digital museum and that translates into a plethora of subjects that can be displayed," Claudiu Ionescu tells Gizmag. "One feature that I like the most is that you can visit any museum of the world using passive 3D technology. The 45-inch touchscreens are also an impressive way to communicate ideas."
With an area of just 125 sq m (1,345 sq ft), the museum represents an efficient use of space by presenting digital exhibitions from all over the world which would otherwise fill thousands of square meters.
"My favorite design feature of the museum is the fact that in 125 sq m you can display thousands of square meters of museums, using just a fraction of the utility and staff costs that a real museum has," says Ionescu. "I also like that fact that quite often people come here to see local history and traditions. Pecica is a very old community and they're best known for their bread so a working 250 year old bread oven is also present inside the museum."
The museum's structure was built using reinforced concrete walls and features an aluminum bonded facade. Photovoltaic panels supply the museum with its energy and gray water is collected and recycled via the roof and surrounding paved courtyards. The interior is equipped with low energy LED lighting and the orientation of the windows has been positioned to reduce overheating during the warmer months.
The museum also invites visitors to explore the nearby natural floodplain using virtual or physical means. Inside the museum, visitors can pedal away on a stationary bike that has a motion sensor attached to the back wheel and is hooked up to a digital screen. The user can then virtually explore in real time some of the existing bike trails. Alternatively patrons can utilize any of the 60 mountain bikes available on site and actually get onto the bike tracks.
Excluding the visual technology, art sculptures and other interior features, the museum's total cost to build was €120,000 (approx. US$160,500) and was completed in just five months.