Posts tagged with "Museums":

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Ennead to transform its Newseum building for Johns Hopkins University

Ennead Architects, the New York-based firm formerly known as Polshek Partnership, will team up with SmithGroup to redevelop the Newseum building in Washington, D.C. for Johns Hopkins University. The Baltimore-based university announced its plans to purchase the building from the nonprofit Freedom Forum earlier this year for $372.5 million. Johns Hopkins will consolidate its existing real estate holdings in the city at the new offshoot building on Pennsylvania Avenue, which will host various academic and administrative initiatives.

Ennead is an appropriate choice to head the project for obvious reasons. Led by architect James Polshek, the firm designed the current Newseum building before changing its name from Polshek Partnership in 2010. Opened in 2008, the building has several distinct features, including a 75-foot-tall marble slab engraved with an excerpt from the First Amendment. A so-called “window on the world” also occupies the structure’s Pennsylvania Avenue frontage, allowing for views between the street, the National Mall, and visitors inside the museum. Ennead has handled multiple high-profile museum projects around the world, such as the Rose Center for Earth and Space at New York’s American Museum of Natural History and the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Ennead submitted initial drawings for the major remodeling to the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts (CFA) on July 3. Before construction can begin, the commission must provide informal feedback and officially approve of the final design. The filing sent to the CFA indicates that certain aspects of the building’s facade will change. The marble tablet with the excerpt from the Constitution, as well as the newspaper headlines that line the avenue, will be removed. The entrance will be reimagined as more transparent and open. Due to boundary line regulations on Pennsylvania Avenue, though, much of the structure’s original massing will remain in place.

The interior will undergo a significant transformation as well. The university has announced plans to reconfigure floor slabs and circulation within the building—currently, much of the museum is positioned around a large, multistory central void. With more than 400,000 square feet of floor space available inside, the facility will house classrooms, offices, and event spaces that will be open to the public. No plans for alterations to the 135-unit Newseum Residences have been released.

As for the Newseum itself, administrators at Freedom Forum have not yet announced where the museum will move. After years of serious budget deficits, the institution will close temporarily at the end of 2019. Employees will work out of a provisional office in Washington until a new home is found. Hopkins has suggested that construction on its facility could begin as early as 2020, and as late as 2023, with no estimated completion date.

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Weiss/Manfredi continues to reinvent its approach at all scales

The realities of contemporary architectural production—site, client, and program—often demand that architects incorporate a combination of open space planning, landscape, and infrastructure into their building projects. The reasons are fairly obvious, given the fraught relationship of daily life to the realities of climate change, digitally mediated landscapes, and the amount of time we spend away from home and in our workplaces. It is unfortunate that these conditions most often appear in contemporary architecture as symbols, tacked on to a facade or plaza, hinted at in a green-walled lobby, or worse still, exist only in the project’s marketing images. However, there are a handful of architecture firms that, as far back as the early 1990s, foresaw the looming urban and environmental crises that we face today. They took climate change and the need for environmentally healthy workplaces seriously and considered how architecture might address these demands. One of the firms that recognized the need to rethink architectural approaches is Weiss/Manfredi. Its formulation of design thinking and form making was best described in a 2008 interview with the designers by the late historian Detlef Mertens. “I am fascinated how you teased out commonalities across scales and disciplines,” Mertens said, “and at the same time, used each to rethink the other—landscape to rethink what a building is, infrastructure to rethink what a landscape is, architecture to rethink landscape—and so on.” The firm’s signature design approach and formal architectural response were developed at its inception, when Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi left Mitchell Giurgola to found their own firm in 1989. Yale Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking The unique, elliptical form of Yale University’s Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking is centrally positioned in a courtyard of stepped orthogonal structures. Curved glass walls encourage circulation through and around the center and allow the rest of the university to see and participate in the building’s program. The open studio, conference, and cafe spaces create opportunities for spontaneous discussion and provide a link between public areas and adjacent instructional spaces. Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum The firm’s design synthesis was utilized even more powerfully in its 2007 Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. Its design for an industrial site on the edge of Elliot Bay creates a continuous constructed landscape for art in the form of an uninterrupted Z-shaped "green" platform, and descends 40 feet from the city to the water, capitalizing on skyline views and rising over the existing infrastructure to reconnect the urban core to the waterfront. An exhibition pavilion that provides spaces for art, performances, and educational programming links three new northwest landscapes: a dense temperate evergreen forest, a deciduous forest, and a shoreline garden. The design not only brings sculpture outside the museum walls but also establishes the park itself within the landscape of the city. Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park The firm’s established design aesthetic of merging landscape, infrastructure, and building are no more fully developed than in this new, 11-acre continuous waterfront in Queens designed in tandem with SWA/Balsley. Its design creates places of retreat and invites intimate connections with nature at the water's edge, complementing active recreation spaces. Further, it reestablishes the site's former marshland identity and introduces a resilient, multilayered recreational and cultural destination that brings city dwellers to the park and the park to the waterfront. Museum of the Earth The firm’s approach can already be seen in its 2003 Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York, located on an open promontory sloping down toward Cayuga Lake. Weiss/Manfredi carefully modified the site to merge delicately into the museum’s two glass and steel pavilions through processional ramps and out to the view beyond. The site and plan merge without compromising the building’s powerful glass-and-steel form.
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Lorcan O'Herlihy renovates Detroit's African Bead Museum

The Detroit office of Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has unveiled its initial phase of a small-budget, big-ambition renovation of one of the city's most remarkable cultural institutions: the MBAD African Bead Museum, an independent exhibition space devoted to African material culture and art. The museum comprises three townhouses and a 6,000-square-foot backyard sculpture garden that together stretch across almost a whole city block. Founder, owner, artist, and self-styled visual storyteller Olayami Dabls uses rocks, mirrors, wood, and iron to create sculptures that are parables for the development of African and African-American history and culture. According to its website, Dabls created the museum to help visitors better understand the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement through his sculptures and his collection of African objects. The African Bead Gallery, a museum store, is as intriguing as the sculptures: trays of beads are the forest floor to strung beads and artifacts from the collection that cover the walls and overhead displays. Outside, the facade is covered in Dabls's colorful glass-and-mirror mosaic murals. As beautiful as it is, the museum's physical space is in serious disrepair. One of the townhouse's roof has collapsed, and the exterior walls are precarious. Over time and if funding permits, LOHA will reinforce the structure internally and build galleries, a new entrance, and a landscape within the new envelope. The initial $100,000 renovation zeroed in on augmenting the museum's exhibition space and performing urgent repairs. LOHA turned a run-down storage room into a 600-square-foot gallery and community events space that will allow for more exhibitions from the museum's collection, plus work from artists in Detroit and beyond. Beyond the new gallery, improvements include new heating and electrical systems, new windows, and a public restroom. "For the first time in 17 years, we will have a space where we can engage the community through storytelling programs and make the museum available to the people who need a gathering space," Dabls said in a press release. "This adds a whole new dimension to our plans for the future." A celebration of the renovated gallery is planned for June 22. This round of renovations was funded by crowdsourced donations via a campaign in partnership with Allied Media Projects. Subsequent renovations are contingent on more fundraising. The museum is already looking to add a main entrance, a central gallery, new admin facilities, and a fund for visiting artist residencies.
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Statue of Liberty Museum by FXCollaborative opens this week

How do you design a museum that makes the most of a small plot, honors the history and spirit of the Statue of Liberty, and can handle millions of visitors a year? The FXCollaborative-designed new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island, which opens to the public this Thursday, had to address all of these concerns. The materiality of the 26,000-square-foot museum is intrinsically linked to the Statue of Liberty it lies directly across from, and the pedestrian mall it connects to. When approaching the island by ferry, the museum’s prominent 14,000-square-foot green roof and vertically-striated exterior precast concrete firmly distinguished the building from anything else in its surroundings. The most striking feature is the 22-foot-tall wing dedicated solely to the Statue of Liberty’s original torch, which was replaced in the 1984 renovation. The glass walls provide a nearly 360-degree view of the island, the Manhattan skyline, and the statue itself from inside, but also make the torch highly visible from the exterior. To enter the museum and reach the green roof, visitors must first ascend a series of steps made from Stony Creek granite, the same stone used in the Statue of Liberty’s podium. The museum’s entrances and programming are designed to be highly permeable, as they are expected to accommodate up to 500 visitors an hour. As such, the museum offers several different branching “paths” once inside. Other than the aforementioned torch room, an immersive theater, broken into three discreet rooms, is stationed near the entrance and provides an immersive, 10-minute movie on the history and impact of the statue. After filing out, guests can either move to the “Engagement Gallery,” which dives deeper into the French workshop where sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi assembled the statue, or to the "Inspiration Gallery." In that space, visitors can snap a selfie and append a note about what liberty means to them; that photo will then be added to a collage called “Becoming Liberty.” The interactive exhibitions were all handled by ESI Design. On the roof, visitors are afforded unobstructed views of pretty much everything in the area, including Manhattan, Staten Island, and New York Harbor. Eagle-eyed patrons might notice that the roof flares both upwards and downwards in certain points, including a dramatic dip over the main entrance. FXCollaborative extended the green roof along the harsh incline by using a series of tray planters smoothed over to appear as if they’re one continuous slope, protecting against any potential runoff. Liberty Island is also a hotspot for migrating birds, and the team specified a fritted glass to cut down on the reflectiveness of the windows and mitigate bird strikes. The Statue of Liberty Museum will open to the public on May 16, and admission is included in the cost of a ferry ticket: $18.50 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $9 for children.
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Studio Libeskind reveals Ngaren, museum of human history in Kenya

Studio Libeskind has revealed its design for a vertical monument to humanity just outside of greater Nairobi in Kenya. Ngaren: The Museum of Humankind, commissioned by paleoanthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey, will present over two million years of human history in a building inspired by the forms of ancient hand axes and other primitive tools. “Ngaren is not just another museum, but a call to action,” said Leakey in a press release. “As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long extinct species, many of which thrived far longer that the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species.” Ngaren’s monolithic massings will sit overlooking Kenya’s portion of the Great Rift Valley. The 3,700-mile-long trench cuts across several countries, and the Kenyan site is where Leakey first discovered the nearly complete skeleton of Turkana Boy in 1984. The fossilized remains, dating back 1.5-to-1.6 million years old, is the most complete early human skeleton ever uncovered. The design of Ngaren reflects the primordial feel of the content within, with Studio Libeskind likening the museum’s form to a stalactite, a comparison furthered by the team’s use of stone-colored concrete. From the renderings, it appears that the museum will jut out from its clifftop site similar to a natural rock outcropping. A main entry will be dug into the hilltop. Inside, visitors will be able to engage with multimedia exhibition galleries that will explore millions of years of history, and the continued impact of, war, climate change, disease, evolution, biodiversity, and other factors that have shaped our species. Ngaren is expected to open in Loodariak, Kenya, in 2024 if the fundraising goes as planned. Currently, the project has $4 million of a total $7 million raised on the online social investing platform Rabble.
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Studio Libeskind's anthropology museum evokes the stark forms of the Chilean desert

A multi-level museum showcasing 6,000 years of history is slated to break ground Iquique, Chile, and Studio Libeskind has revealed the first look at its dramatic, seemingly-fragmented building. Iquique is a port city in the country’s north that, while built on mining, has transitioned towards a tourism economy in recent years, in part owing to the abundance of natural biomes found together there—mountains, desert, and the ocean all lie in close proximity. Appropriately enough, Studio Libeskind has drawn on the lush natural environment for the design of the new home for El Museo Antropológico Regional de Iquique (Regional Anthropological Museum of Iquique). The new building will replace the anthropological museum’s original home, where it has existed since 1892. While the current building can only display 20 percent of the museum’s collection, the replacement—which Studio Libeskind has dubbed “El Dragon de Tarapacá”—will be able to put 6,000 years of history on display. Focusing first on the indigenous peoples of the nearby Atacama Desert, the museum will also cover colonialism, nitrate mining in the region, and history up to modern times. El Dragon de Tarapacá was designed to harmonize with the surrounding landscape. Using three pairs of jutting, vertical walls, the massing of the museum references the Atacama Desert, nearby dunes, mountains, and the adjacent coast. The design team opted for a mixture of earth-colored concrete, which is intended to resemble the local stone historically used for construction in Iquique, and hardwood for the interiors. Programmatically, over 40,000 square feet of exhibition space will span two levels. A café over the entrance hall will look out over the shore to the south, while the educational spaces, such as classrooms and a theater, will be located below the entrance. Beneath that will sit the administrative spaces and offices, with underground parking below.

“The design is informed by acoustical space," said Daniel Libeskind. "The idea was to treat each space as a distinct atmosphere and mood as you move throughout the museum. Every volume references the surrounding landscape—dune, mountain, desert, ocean.”

The new museum will sit between two roadways leading into Iquique’s urban center, and on a serious grade. The topmost road is approximately 26 feet higher than the lower street. That means an elevated ramp was needed to unite both halves, creating a pass-through to the beach between the two streets for the first time. A sloped garden will rise from the lower side as well. Construction of the new museum is expected to begin in early 2020, though no completion date has been given yet.
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Diller Scofidio + Renfro beat a crowded shortlist for the Hungarian Museum of Transport

The Hungarian Museum of Transport is on the move, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), alongside local architecture firm Tempannon, has been chosen to design its new home in Budapest. Appropriately enough, the museum will move to a 17-acre site in the Northern Maintenance Depot in Kőbánya, a heavily industrialized area surrounded by both active and historical transportation infrastructure. The museum, one of the oldest transportation collections in Europe, is known for its wide showcase of both scale and full-sized buses, trains, cars, and other vehicles. The current building in Városliget has been closed for two years in anticipation of the move to the new site. The winning DS+R scheme heavily involves the idea of “ground transportation” and carving into the ground plane to afford visitors views from underneath the collection. By carving, lifting, and cutting into the ground, as well as using ample amounts of glass, the new museum will let guests explore the vehicles from every angle while still preserving them. Outside, a “Forecourt” will knit together the existing buildings on the site with the bike and pedestrian paths and railways. An intermingling of paved and landscaped areas, a picnic area, outdoor galleries, a café, and spaces for the nearby Törekvés Cultural Center will allow museum guests to decompress before and after entering. Carriage cars and locomotives will also adorn the Forecourt through a series of “breakout vitrines.” The museum itself will project from the Diesel Hall, a mid-century modern industrial building with nine, 360-foot-long parallel naves. Half of the new Grand Hall will remain in the Diesel building to reinforce the structure, while the other half will lie in the forecourt and create a symbolic bridge between old and new. A “second ground” will sit above the Gallery Hall and house space for special exhibitions, a museum café, and educational spaces, while providing uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape. The museum's international design competition kicked off in August of last year. According to a statement by DS+R, the firm was selected out of a slew of other well-known practices: 3H Architecture, Amanda Levete Architects Ltd., Atelier Brückner GmbH, Bjarke Ingels Group, Caruso St John Architects, CÉH Zrt. + Foster & Partners, David Chipperfield Architects, Építész Stúdió Kft., KÖZTI Zrt. and Lacaton & Vassal Architects. No estimated completion date for the project has been given yet. As the proposed site sits on a brownfield, environmental remediation will need to be finished before construction can begin.
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David Chipperfield finishes hillside museum in eastern China

David Chipperfield Architects has recently finished a new museum in Anji outside Dipuzhen in eastern China that comprises a set of interlinked bars in a "red ochre" color that references local clay earth. The facility will be a branch of the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History when it opens this spring. The museum's rectangular galleries step down its hillside site and are connected by a loggia that encloses an interior courtyard. The galleries have roughly the same grand height and width but vary in length, bringing some diversity to the exhibition spaces. Altogether, the museum will enclose about 624,000 square feet. When fully landscaped, the complex will include green roofs and water features that, along with the ruddy color, will connect the building to its subtropical setting. German firm Levin Monsigny Landschaftsarchitekten and local firm Zhejiang South Architecture Design Ltd. worked on the landscape design.
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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame starts new sensory friendly program

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, has launched a new program to accommodate people with sensory sensitivities. Starting August 24, the museum will offer visitors free kits with a variety of equipment that they can use throughout their visit. According to Cleveland Scene, the kits include "noise-dampening headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, weighted lap pads, and other resources." The Hall of Fame joins a variety of institutions that have taken similar steps toward inclusivity in recent years. Smithsonian reported earlier this year on a variety of D.C. museums that have tried to become more sensory friendly by opening early for quiet hours or by creating dimly-lit spaces that visitors can retreat to should they become overwhelmed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City offers a sensory friendly guide that highlights spaces that tend to be quiet and dimly lit along with spaces that are often loud and crowded. Autism Friendly Spaces, a New York–based nonprofit whose mission is to "unlock minds and transform spaces to welcome the full participation of the autism community," says that sensory friendly spaces adjust "the auditory, visual, and olfactory stimulation to levels acceptable for the population that will be experiencing it." People with autism spectrum disorder may be "more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature," according to the National Institute of Mental Health. For museums like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sensory sensitivity poses a real challenge because many shows are designed to stimulate a variety of senses at once. As Smithsonian noted, exhibition design has trended toward multisensory experiences that are more than purely visual displays. The sensitivity kits offer a variety of tools that can either dampen sensory input or offer coping mechanisms, like the fidget tools or weighted lap pads, and they are one way in which museum design is tackling inclusivity and accessibility more broadly.
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Armenian American Museum moves forward after Glendale City Council vote

The monolithic Armenian American Museum (AAM) in Glendale, California, is officially a step closer to reality after the Glendale City Council voted to approve the current design on April 17. The nearly 60,000-square-foot museum, massed as a dramatic cube that upturns above the building’s entrances, was designed by Glendale’s Alajajian Marcoosi Architects (AMA). The heavily engraved facade simultaneously references both Mount Ararat as well as the Verdugo Mountains surrounding the city of Glendale. It’s a fitting touch, as the museum itself will hold exhibitions and historical research into the Armenian American experience, and because Glendale holds the greatest number of Armenian residents in the U.S. The City Council’s approval paves the way for formalizing the construction of the $30 million museum. As LA Weekly reports, a 55-year, one-dollar-a-year lease is being finalized so that the museum can build on the southwest corner of Central Park Paseo, which is currently undergoing an overhaul by the international SWA Group that will ultimately increase the amount of available green space. The AAM will have the option to renew its lease up to four times in ten-year increments. The back of the AAM’s three-story block will open up to new “Glendale Central Park,” as well as a through-block pedestrian, adult recreation center, central library, and a children’s play zone. The 40,000 to 50,000 square feet lost by the museum will be offset by the conversion of existing parking spaces in Central Park Paseo into parkland. Inside, the museum will strive to build bridges across different immigrant communities by carving out space to hold cultural displays, as well as an international demonstration kitchen. Construction is slated to begin summer 2019, with the AAM’s opening in 2022, presuming that the funding goal can be met. While the state has given the institution a $4 million grant, the rest of the $30 million will be coming from private donations.
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A museum of selfies pops up in California

Instagrammers who are fed up with the proliferating bans on selfie sticks in more traditional museums can now find solace at a new pop-up in Glendale, California. From April 1 through May 31, visitors to the pop-up Museum of Selfies can learn more about the history of the photographic form, as well as take their own memorable snapshots. Co-founded by two escape room designers, Tommy Honton and Tair Mamedov, the museum’s installations are designed to bridge the gap between mainstream consumerism and the more aloof air of the art world. Through recreations of famous Van Gogh paintings and satirical takes on common selfie locations (gyms, cars, restaurants), guests are encouraged to take their own selfies while also viewing examples of self-representation throughout the ages. In a tour ahead of the museum’s official opening, Hyperallergic spotted hyper-saturated walls with giant placards, an iron throne made of selfie sticks, and a black-and-white photo studio. All of the pieces double as Instagram-worthy backdrops on their own, complete with suggested hashtags. Even the museum’s bathroom is in on the fun, as the “mirror” actually leads to an empty, symmetrically-designed room and fails to reflect viewers. With new work commissioned from both domestic and international artists, including ruminations on how selfies have destroyed priceless art and in some cases lead to death, the museum wants to examine how interactions with art have been changed by technology. The macaque monkey selfie, responsible for a legal battle over ownership of the photograph that bankrupted the camera’s owner, has been put on display along with speculative graphic art and gags. "The relationship between people and art has changed," Mamedov told Mashable. "Now people don’t want to just be a silent consumer, they want to be a part of the art. There are many more selfies with the Mona Lisa than actual Mona Lisas." The Museum of Selfies’ merging of artistic theory with mass-market consumerism is deeper pop-up fare than, say, the Museum of Ice Cream, and the questions raised by the exhibition echoes those that the architectural field are still grappling with.
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National Black Theater Museum proposed for Memphis

It has only been a few short months since the Memphis, Tennessee, Brooks Museum of Art announced it was considering a move from its current home to the proposed Mississippi riverfront cultural center. The city is now listening to ideas to fill the historic 1916 building, and the proposal is for the National Black Theater Museum. Spearheaded by the local Hattiloo Theater, the museum hopes to bring together at least four other theater programs from across the country. The building the Brooks Museum is currently housed in, located in Overton Park, is in need of extensive renovation, including environmental updates to preserve the art inside. It has been estimated that it would cost upwards of $80 million for necessary fixes, and the building would still not address additional space needs for the museum's growing collection. The proposed National Black Theater Museum would take the building in a new direction by focusing on interactive digital installations rather than displaying fine art. The basis for the museum is a mobile gallery formed by Hattiloo in 2010, yet the proposed institution will take on a much grander presence. Four black theater organizations have pledged support, and have expressed interest in moving their institutions to the new Memphis museum. These include the Baltimore-based Black Theatre Commons, Washington, D.C.–based August Wilson Society, St. Paul, Minnesota–based Black Theatre Association, as well as the Lorton, Virginia–based Black Theatre Network. Memphis’s own Rhodes College is also getting involved, with the possibility of expanding its Africana Studies and Performing Arts departments. Additionally, a private donor has committed to a gift of $350,000 help establish the museum. While the museum is the first proposal to be presented, the city will be hearing other ideas for the Brooks Museum building for the next 90 days. If the National Black Theater Museum proposal is accepted, Memphians will have access to 500 years of digitized manuscripts and archives, from African dance through Academy Award–winning films.