MALI Contemporary Art Wing
Client: The Lima Art Museum MALI
Status: Competition 
Size: 8,100 m² / 26574 ft²
Location: Lima, Peru
The White Album is among the most important essays ever written, by one of America’s most incisive, essential writers.

In this seminal essay, Joan Didion traverses the tectonically shifting landscape and bold names of the late 1960’s — The Black Panthers, student protests, The Doors, Manson — and she tells this story with herself at its center. She wanted to be an actress as a child, and here she writes a shattering and uncannily theatrical monologue in her unmistakable voice: at turns unequivocally cool, impossibly illuminating, and just shy of total collapse. After a twenty-year personal obsession with the essay and an epic quest to secure the theatrical rights, director Lars Jan has been given the green light.

The stage design for Lars Jan’s timely adaptation of Joan Didion’s White Album consists of a structure of 26’ long, 16’ wide and 12’ high and is able to be assembled and disassembled in one day by a small crew. Conceived for a traveling performance which includes at least 5 cities in the US, the structure takes functionality, including simplicity and pace of assembly, economy of means and maintenance very seriously.

Utilizing a robotically manufactured, flexible space truss system by LA based Stereobot, the project hides its technical versatility aiming to provide an ethereal environment where a profound theatrical narrative can unfold. The rectilinear container is skewed in the sides: accounting for the depth of the structure, it contests just slightly the symmetry of itself and the theater. Taking advantage of the triangular truss that makes up the structure, a 3’ deep intrusion and extrusion on each side is incorporated to provide access, egress and the necessary room for theatrical artifices to occur inconspicuously.

An exterior terrace, which allows for continuous relation between interior and exterior and is outlined as a framed porch, hints to the domestic scale where Joan Didion’s original story takes place.

Marcelo Spina
Georgina Huljich
Daniela Atencio
Fatma Gonca Tunc
Yosephine Anglingdarma
Zhang Avon
Siyao Zheng


P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S proposal for the New MALI Contemporary Art Wing is a direct response to the insurmountable conundrum of the brief: the need to accommodate building spaces contiguous to the existing building but which will have almost zero presence on the ground…

As a response, our project proposes to give the building agency as mass, even if this is to be completely underground. Therefore, when accessing the new building from Exposition park or from the corner Wilson and Av. 9 de Diciembre, visitors will know that they are walking in fact on the roof of a building and not a simple plaza. To create a sense of independence, the building maintains a relative autonomy from the edges of the site, that is the excavated ground. Inspired by African churches built from the solid ground, the project concentrates in producing a negative void that allows enough space for the new building to illuminate and ventilate naturally. Two linear courtyards delimit a linear slab organization parallel to Wilson Blvd. The project does not to disappear, but to assert itself as a new kind of ground: a sunken building that integrates the existing MALI with the pedestrian traffic of the busy streets and yet claims independence from both.

Serving as a kind of negative plinth, the project is predicated on resolving an urban condition rather than simply creating an object. The circulation between Exposition Park and Dammert Park is now encouraged with a pedestrian access to an underground passage under the street. Running in parallel to the existing MALI building, this circulation spine affords park users and museum visitors a clear sense of orientation and direction. The project combines the pragmatic efficiency of the linear bar organization with a the crystalline character of its more idiosyncratic protrusions. In the balance between solid and void, object and field, building and excavation, the project asserts itself as a “mute icon”: an engaged and mysterious object; decidedly introspect and withdrawn while conspicuously iconic and texturally emblematic.

Marcelo Spina
Georgina Hulijich
Daniela Atencio
Dylan Krueger
Namku Kim
Connor Covey
Julia Spackman
Shawna Meng
Dan Lu
Josh Shultz
Anthony Stoffella

Stoss Landscape Urbanism

932 Wilson St. Suite 1B,
Los Angeles, CA 90021

+1 (323) 284 8816

P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S is a design and research architectural practice based in Los Angeles, operating globally with more than 15 years of building experience.