Science fiction’s outlandish imaginings are set to become reality, with the top 10 designs for the world’s first sci-fi museum on display at the Brooklyn Public Library through May 31. Naturally, the first-of-its-kind project warrants no less than a high-tech, out-of-this-world edifice worthy of Star Trek. The winning design by graduate student Emily Yen, titled Schrödinger’s Box, proposes a 3,990 square foot modular museum comprised of a trapezoid frame with infilled planes at various heights (think staggered wall shelving).
An exterior insulated plastic cube is then hung from the frame, while a flexible fabric roof pivots around the opaque projection wall “facilitating connections to the universe and beyond,” according to Yen’s proposal. “It explores the imagination that anything is possible—it’s infinite. I think [Yen’s] design really teaches you to dream big,” said Barbara Wing, Manager of Exhibitions at BPL.
A runner-up design by Indonesian architect Ko Wibowo perpetuates the concept of a roving museum with a building designed entirely from boxes affixed to trailers, with each one connected to the other by electrically charged magnetic edges. The boxes will be prefabricated off-site and designed to easily detach—facilitating relocation of the museum via truck or train. Sliding steel doors protect the glass-facing sides during transportation and control interior sun exposure for when the museum is reconfigured in different locales.
Aspiring simultaneously towards a galactic dreamscape and the futuristic technologies of the sci-fi genre, the museum’s interior and exterior will be informed by a “utopia” (organic) and “dystopia” (industrial) concept respectively. The building will sport an industrial-looking front made from clear-coated raw steel and silicone-insulated glass. The indoors, meanwhile, will be awash in constellation-like lighting reflected off movable stainless steel walls with a mirror-like finish. Overhead, the brushed aluminium ceiling is embedded with self-illuminating signage.
Knocking the ball out of the technological park is the creator of virtual reality experience “Project Anywhere,” Constantinos Miltiadis, who proposes a completely empty, non-descript building where museumgoers’ experience is mediated entirely through a wireless head-mounted display.
Users dock their smartphones on the virtual reality headset for a customized experience of navigating a traditional museum—only virtually. While the concept of windowless-basement-as-museum may seem somewhat unsettling, Miltiadis’ point about eliminating physical constraints has merit. “The USS Enterprise, therefore, could be exhibited in its real scale: it can fly above you, take off and land,” he wrote in his proposal.
Jonathan Spencer, Corporate Counsel at the Museum of Science Fiction, would like to see this technology come to fruition in the near future. “Some of the concepts which we hope to be able to incorporate are to allow visitors to have an augmented reality. Of course we would still have physical exhibits but augmented reality would allow us to bring educational programs to schools,” he said. The Science Fiction Museum’s primary goal is to inspire interest in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) by exploring the genre through film, literature, art, graphic novels and music.
Following its appearance at the Brooklyn Public Library, previews of the Museum of Science Fiction will be exhibited in Los Angeles, Milan, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Berlin, Moscow and London.