Posts tagged with "Museums":

Jackie Robinson Museum finally starts construction after a decade-long wait

Work has finally begun on a New York City museum that will honor Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson. Originally, the museum was slated open in 2009, but the Great Recession stalled fundraising for ten years. Now the museum, designed by Gensler’s New York office with exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is set to open in 2019. The 18,500-square-foot museum is being built into the ground floor of One Hudson Square, in Manhattan’s Soho district. A permanent exhibit will inform visitors of Robinson’s part in the civil rights movement, showcasing Jackie Robinson’s achievements against the backdrop of U.S. history from 1919 to the present. Beyond learning, these panels are functional, retracting to form the walls of an arena setting, or sliding out of sight to create more space for larger events. In these cases, temporary seating can also be installed. More hands-on exhibits, meanwhile will inform visitors on subjects including baseball, segregation, citizenship, personal integrity, and social change. A 75 seat theater will round out the program. "The Jackie Robinson Museum is an opportunity to bring an important cultural landmark to NYC—one that challenges visitors to think about the history of social and cultural change and tolerance," wrote said Joseph Plumeri, chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation National Legacy Campaign, in an information document about the museum. "The lessons learned from Jackie’s personal journey will touch people of all ages, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds." In terms of funding, the Associated Press reported that about $23.5 million has been raised to build the museum. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has its eyes set on a total of $42 million to pay for the museum's operating costs (42 was the baseball player's number).

New-York Historical Society previews new Gallery of Tiffany Lamps

Yesterday morning, the New-York Historical Society previewed the totally transformed fourth floor of its Upper West Side museum—once a drab archive, it will soon host 100 Tiffany Lamps in a space designed by London- and Prague-based architect Eva Jiřičná. The creation of the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps was spurred by the discovery that Clara Driscoll, one of the “Tiffany Girls” (women who worked for Tiffany Studios and selected the glass fragments that went into the lamps), was a leading creative force and designed many Tiffany lamps herselfNew York City–based PBDW were the architects of record for the 4,800-square-foot, two-story gallery, which features specially-crafted curving glass displays surrounded by a low-light environment and dark blue walls. Jiřičná's firm, who has come to specialize in glass construction, designed the LED-lit stairs with absolutely minimal metal details. In most instances, the stair's glass-to-glass metal connections are encased within the layers of laminated glass panes, making them totally flush and well-hidden. Furthermore, the stair's glass hangs off the nearby wall and works in tension. A small amount of give was engineered into the steps for users' comfort when walking upward. Georgina Papathanasiou, an associate at Eva Jiřičná Architects, said the staircase was "a feat of technology in the 21st-century" to match the technical achievement of Tiffany's 20th-century creations. In addition to telling the history of the Tiffany Girls and Clara Driscoll, visitors can create their own Tiffany lamp through an interactive digital installation (created by Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Small Design firm Inc.) on the second floor. The Gallery of Tiffany Lamps is adjacent to the also-new 1,500-square-foot Joyce B. Cowin’s History Gallery, a space dedicated to exhibitions organized by the New-York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History. The newly-established Center is the first institution of its kind dedicated to public exhibits on women in American history. (The Joyce B. Cowin’s History Gallery will be inaugurated with Saving Washington, an exhibition on First Lady Dolley Madison, along with items from the archives of Billie Jean King, an interactive multimedia wall, among other artifacts.) Lastly, a new North Gallery will showcase objects from the museum's permanent collection. All the galleries will open to the public on April 29.

Portugal’s MAAT could become the world’s most exciting venue for art and architecture

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) is a new exhibition space created for EDP, a Portuguese foundation in Lisbon. The building opened in October of 2016 and just created its first curated exhibition. I had an opportunity to visit its exhibit Utopia/Dystopia: A Paradigm Shift in Art and Architecture and it provided an opportunity to see how the new structure functions and is being programmed. Designed by British architect Amanda Levete's firm AL_A, The MAAT operates as a ‘Kunsthalle,’ with no permanent collection of artifacts, but as a space to promote and stage cross-cultural or interdisciplinary experimentation. The building has several functional exhibition galleries, but its focus is an enormous, 13,000-square-foot, centralized elliptical space, ringed with steep inclined viewing ramps made for theatrical performances and temporary installations. The ramps are meant as viewing platforms but the steepness of the slope propels viewers down and then up and around the central ellipse. This constant movement by viewers can allow them—if curated properly—to be part of the action or to become the event itself. It's an interactive public space for an age more familiar with digital and VR images on a screen than in a physical gallery. The low, long profile of The MAAT's exterior appears like a slightly opened oyster shell set in the mud along the facing Tagus river and estuary. If one imagines the shell opened ever so slightly, this is where Levete has placed the entrance into the building. Up a curving set of long, narrow steps, with a hovering deep overhang meant to capture the dappled reflection of the river, the public is pulled in a short entrance into the lobby and then into the grand open performance ellipse. Its facade is covered in 15,000 “crackle glazed three-dimensional” tiles that give it a fish scale like dimension on the cityscape and honors the city’s many tiled facades. When these ceramic rectangles catch beams of natural dappled or artificial light the building magically glows like a light bulb. But it is not simply the facade of the building that comes alive through refraction. This is a building meant to perform on every surface. It is, in some ways, as much landscape as it is an enclosure and thus a structure meant to perform. The term ‘performative architecture’ stands for several older and newer ideas in architecture and the design of urban public space. If by the term one means buildings created to encourage active public engagement and themselves actively participate like Roman baroque urban experiments or even worlds fairs, then Levete’s building is an unqualified success. It becomes a pedestrian promenade and visitors areg meant to walk along, onto, or over its tiled sloping roofscape like Foreign Office Architect’s 2003 Yokohama terminal. Last week's opening programmed performances to take place on every surface of the structure. It started with a musician ‘playing’ the ceramic tile facade with a vibraphonist's soft mallets and group of musicians dancing and singing on the top step of the covered front entry platform. The central oval space featured an opening night performance by Mexican artist Hector Zamora that featured crews of migrant laborers destroying a fleet of old unusable (but beautiful) fishing boats as a protest against the disappearance of a way of life represented by the small craft. The highlight of the first-day performance featured O Terceiro Paraiso, choreographed by Italian Michelangelo Pistoletto on the sloping roofscape public space. The Italian arte povera and ‘action’ artist theorized a potential new utopia—in accordance with the exhibition opening in the galleries downstairs—that asked several hundred participants to hold hands in three labyrinths made of a single line that would create a new third utopia from the two earlier ones that he theorized as an everyday 'Gesamtkunstwerk.' The performance was pushed along by the large sloping facade of the roof that stands as an open space above the riverside promenade and facing back to the city in the distance. It should be pointed out that the Levete renderings show the roofscape with a whiplash-like tail flying over the adjacent freeway to the roof of The MAAT. This freeway acts as a wall that cuts off Lisbon from its waterfront as if it were lifted out from any number of American cities. When (and if) this tail ramp is finished it will bring the city across the freeway and onto the roofscape and be the performative space the museums want to be for their home city. Levette has delivered a potentially valuable new focus and hub for the Portuguese capital but it remains for the MAAT director Pedro Gandhao and his curatorial staff to realize the spatial and performative qualities of the museum. They have the opportunity to make this one the most exciting venues in the world that programs architecture and technology alongside art.

Snøhetta masterfully creates a new museum setting for 17,000-year-old cave art

When I tell people my daughter lives in France, their first thoughts are of Paris. When I say the south of France, they think of Cannes, Nice, and Marseilles. Actually, she lives two hours east of Bordeaux in a beautiful region known as the Dordogne. Buried amongst the stately chateaus and castles is a collection of artwork that has captured the imagination of the world—the cave paintings of Lascaux. Discovered in 1940, these prehistoric works of art were created more than 17,000 years ago in Montignac, France. At first, the caves were open to the public, but were closed in 1963 when it was discovered that humans exhaling carbon dioxide were damaging the artwork. Lascaux II, a facsimile of the original, opened in 1983, and is located 600 feet away. But, even still, human traffic was damaging the original. Subsequently, in 2012, Lascaux III was created as a traveling exhibit and it is currently touring Asia. To bring this whole fascinating story back to life, after it had been closed to the public for over 50 years, a design competition was launched in 2011 to create Lascaux IV. Its mission was to bring this world heritage site out of the darkness and back into the public’s eye, to provide access to the Dordogne region of France as an international cultural and scientific attraction, and to create a greater understanding of the history and meaning that spawned this Paleolithic cave art. The design competition attracted many of Europe’s leading firms, including Mateo Arquitectura, Auer+Weber, and Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Ultimately, in 2013, the jury selected the design team led by Snøhetta, of Oslo, Norway, working with local firm Duncan Lewis and interior-exhibition designers Casson Mann of London. Jury member Bernard Cazeau, a senator representing the Dordogne, said, “From the point of view of the scenography—which was, in our eyes, an essential factor—it’s the most successful project.” Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, one of the founding architects of Snøhetta, explained that “during the process of copying, you discover new information. It was a huge research investment.” The architects and exhibit designers learned how the ancient artists thought and acted. Those painters would draw multiple heads on a horse to simulate movement as the horse swam across a river. The building and its multiple exhibitions work beautifully as an integrated sequence of spaces. Snøhetta is recognized for its integration of landscape and architecture. The Lascaux IV Museum is masterful in this regard. The museum forms the edge of a sloping forest adjacent to a broad field. “The building is an insertion,” Thorsen explained, “a negotiation between the forest and the agriculture.” It is possible to walk from the entry plaza up a slope to the top of the building, not unlike Snøhetta’s design for the Oslo Opera House. “The building is not an abstract,” Thorsen said. It brings the museum experience to a new reality, reminding us we are all part of a 20,000-year continuum. Many people, including this writer, were skeptical about the value of a museum with copies of the cave art. I had visited the original cave paintings in the nearby French town of Rouffignac and have been trained to value original artwork. So how would this team of architects and exhibit designers create a place that could teach us new things, touch our hearts, and move our minds? With imagination, innovation, and technology, they created a whole new world worth every hour of your time and then some. I envisioned a fake cave and a gift shop, but as I approached this bold incision in the landscape, set against the forested hillside, I realized there was much more to this museum than I had imagined. The building is partially buried in the hillside near the original caves. The sequence of spaces skillfully takes the visitor from outside to inside and back outside again. There is, of course, the re-creation of the original caves; with a change in light, acoustics, and humidity, you feel like you are entering down into the cave as the artists did more than 17,000 years ago. Your eyes adjust to the dim light, and the paintings come alive. Over 50 artists and sculptors from the Perigord Facsimile Workshop labored for three years to reproduce the shape and texture of the cave, and, using the same materials as the original artists, captured the color, shape, and form of over 600 animals, 400 signs and symbols, and one human with a bird’s head. The gentle curvature of the cave walls was used to simulate the curvature of the animals’ bodies. It’s impossible not to wonder about who these Paleolithic people were and how they lived. And why did they spend the time and effort to tell us their stories? After exiting the caves, you enter a series of additional exhibition halls and theaters. Pieces of the cave are re-created and suspended from the ceiling. Digital images, projected on the paintings, explain how the artists created layers of meaning over time. Thorsen explained that “the cave has a meaning in its own right. The cave is itself an artifact.” Three mini-theaters trace the history of discovery in the caves since 1940. Then, a separate space, framed by multiple suspended digital monitors, explores how the cave paintings have influenced contemporary artists. Museums have a dual function: first, to display the art within in a visually stimulating way that allows visitors to learn, to grow, and to explore. And second, to create an architecture that engages the community and makes a design statement of its own. Snøhetta achieves both with a deft hand and a keen eye. The image of the building against the forest at dusk is a dramatic sight, expecting to draw nearly half a million visitors per year.

A closer look at wHY’s custom reflective materials at Louisville’s Speed Museum

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The Speed Art Museum, located in Louisville, Kentucky is the state’s oldest and largest art museum; it is a major cultural repository for the region. wHY’s concept to carefully and precisely intervene on the existing museum, described by the firm as “acupuncture architecture,” set the project apart from other proposals solicited by the museum’s international search for an architecture firm to develop a comprehensive strategy for the museum’s growth and expansion.
  • Facade Manufacturer Cristacurva (glass); Kawneer (skylights); McGrath (metal panels)
  • Architects wHY; K. Norman Berry Associates Architects (architect of record)
  • Facade Installer F.A. Wilhelm Construction (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Thornton Tomasetti (structural design)
  • Location Louisville, KY
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Steel frame w/ curtain wall & metal panels
  • Products Flashing and sheet metal by Firestone Building products; Curtain wall by Cristacurva & Kawneer; EIFS by STO Corporation; Masonry by CIP Concrete Walls (F.A. Wilhelm)
While the interior work on the 200,000-square-foot project has been celebrated for enhanced connectivity and openness, the exterior simultaneously works to reflect the immediate surroundings of the site, which is embedded within a network of Frederick Law Olmsted–designed parks and parkways, as well as opposite a residential neighborhood and university. The most prominent component of the project is a 60,000-square-foot north pavilion, formed by stacking three shifted volumes sheathed in fritted glass and folded aluminum panels. This materiality emulates the classical moldings of the original museum building and produces a dynamic change in response to the natural light. The project team produced five modules of zig-zagged panels that are combined in a random order across the facade. These panels are incorporated into a concealed-fastener rainscreen system, attached to a secondary steel frame and Centria thermal insulation panels. Coloration and reflectivity parameters were extensively tested on site with the owner prior to final selections. In addition to folded metal panels, glazing panels in the curtain wall feature a custom frit material. The patterning consists of a staggered gradient pattern composed of small half-inch rectangles, dissolving from 99% coverage at the roof line to zero percent at ground level for transparency at eye level. The frit is mirrored on the outside, and matte on the inside, a combination which Andrija Stojic, design director at wHY, says was challenging to achieve, but an essential component of the project: “It doesn’t create a barrier, and produces a very different effect when you’re standing outside compared to inside. It was very difficult to achieve this because we were unable to find a US manufacturer willing to produce a dual-coated frit.” This led wHY’s team to a successful collaboration with Mexico-based Cristacurva, who were able to work together on design and production of the highly specific finish. Stojic concludes, “The point for us is to detail in a manner that looks so clean and simple that it will almost disappear. How the metal panel meets the glass, or the continuation of one panel to another. We try to make these moments as simple as possible. Detailing this project was a challenge for us, but also one of the most exciting aspects of the project.” wHY opened an office in Louisville as a result of the project and continues to deliver projects in the region from this location. This adds a midwest office to wHY’s presence on both coasts (Los Angeles and New York City).

New details emerge for L.A.’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

The board of directors for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) recently chose Los Angeles as the latest—and potentially final—site for its troubled museum proposal.

The decision marks the third attempt by the LMNA museum board to find a location for the nearly $1 billion museum—resulting in multiple design schemes by MAD Architects. The LMNA will house a growing and expansive collection of graphic art, including works by Zaha Hadid, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others.

MAD Architects’ initial designs for a site north of San Francisco were rebuffed in 2015 after community outcry. The LMNA team made a try for a site in Chicago in 2016, only to eventually scrap the plans in the face of fierce opposition to the project’s proposed location on the Chicago’s lakefront by a local community group. Most recently, LMNA’s board made parallel pitches for two sites in California: one on San Francisco’s Treasure Island and another in L.A.’s Exposition Park.

L.A. won out this round, gaining another cultural amenity for a site already home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California African American Museum, California Science Center, and the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County. The new museum, if built, will also be located along the city’s Expo Line light rail line, and will help—along with a forthcoming Gensler-designed Los Angeles Football Club soccer stadium—extend a leg of transit-oriented development from a growing entertainment and hotel district in the South Park neighborhood nearby to one of L.A.’s core working class neighborhoods.

In announcing its decision, the Lucas Foundation’s board of directors extolled the virtues of the urban park and its surrounding neighborhood, saying in a statement: “While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging, and educating a broad and diverse visitorship.”

In an effort to preserve the park’s green spaces, the selected scheme will include public open space on its rooftop. Renderings for the proposal show the curvaceous museum located in a leafy, park setting topped with tufts of greenery. The museum also appears to gingerly touch the ground by coming down in a series of large, discrete piers.

It’s still unclear what sorts of developmental hurdles the museum will need to surpass prior to construction, but the project clearly has a fan in L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who after learning of the decision, remarked to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city. It’s a banner day for L.A.”

World’s first museum of queer art debuts new Soho gallery space

Yesterday the world's first museum of queer art celebrated the opening of its inaugural exhibition in a newly expanded space. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, founded thirty years ago in Soho, has spread out from its longtime storefront space on Wooster Street into an adjacent property. Inside, visitors are greeted by Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, staged in a bright and airy gallery designed by architect Steven Keith. As the title suggests, Expanded Visions digs into the Leslie-Lohman archives to showcase work by and for queer people, many of them New Yorkers. The 250 sculptures, paintings, and photographs on display are drawn from 30,000 works in the permanent collection that span over 500 years of history. Museum founders Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman (1922-2009) have spent more than a half-century collecting art that reflects the LGBT experience; their efforts and networks helped preserve work that would have otherwise been lost to history. New acquisitions will both represent lesbian and trans artists and honor the founders' collecting interest in works that depict gay male life.

Expanded Visions, said executive director Gonzalo Casals, is meant to be both a mirror and a window. "If you're queer, we hope you see yourself represented in this work," he said."If you're not, this is a window to understand the other—to create empathy to empower and inspire."

Pieces by well-known artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol are displayed near Grey James and Cathy Cade to celebrate queer identity and tell stories about censorship, the HIV/AIDS crisis, beauty, body image, and queer social spaces that sustain community. Although much of the work on view is from the 20th century, and depicts familiar New York moments and places, the exhibition is a survey featuring work from artists as far back as the 19th and 18th centuries. Movable beveled paneled walls in standard-issue gallery white open up a room that, due to a bisecting row of cast iron columns, could otherwise feel too crowded.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum commissioned Keith, who's based in New York, to realize an expansion that includes new staff offices, storage space, and a gift shop. The larger space will be an asset to its mission: The museum's small size, explained former interim director Meryl A. Allison, would force it to close during installation and de-installation, but the 2,300 square feet of new space allows the museum to welcome visitors even as shows change over. Keith's work, which started in October 2016 and finished last week, increased Leslie-Lohman's total footprint to 5,600 square feet. The new space, at 26 Wooster Street in Manhattan, officially opens tomorrow, March 10. More information about exhibitions, programming, and hours of operation can be found here.

Miami’s Frost Museum of Science by Grimshaw aims to be paragon of sustainable architecture

Miami’s new science museum will open its doors on May 8, 2017. The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (or Frost Science, for short), which sits Miami's Downtown Museum Park, is part of Miami-Dade County’s initiative to make Miami a “cultural hub.” The 250,000-square-foot campus—designed by London-based Grimshaw Architects, who worked with local firm Rodriguez and Quiroga—is divided into four entities: the Planetarium, Aquarium, North Wing, and West Wing, which will include exhibit space, the Learning Center, the museum’s Science Store, and a museum café. The building is designed to be an exhibit itself, with examples of sustainable building practices and local wildlife. A rooftop urban farm and “Living Core” will be dedicated to showcasing native vegetation, while a solar terrace of photovoltaic panels will supply the building with energy. As part of the museum’s Everglades exhibit, there will also be an on-site wetland. These features should help the project achieve its expected LEED Gold rating. “The technology, engineering, and sustainability features found throughout the museum rival those on a global stage and will inspire and motivate generations to come,” said Frank Steslow, Frost Science President, in a press release. “Our goal is that Frost Science will be an international destination and vibrant educational space that encourages curiosity and investigation.” On top of the building’s built-in experiences, the museum will also feature exhibits on the history of flight, from dinosaurs to aerospace engineering, and the physics of light, and will, of course, provide ample opportunities to engage with local wildlife at the three-level aquarium. The museum is currently in its final stages of construction, awaiting the arrival of its new inhabitants. For more information about the museum’s exhibits or to purchase tickets, visit their website here.

Motown Museum prepares for major $50 million expansion

Hitsville U.S.A., the home of Motown Records and the Motown Museum in Detroit, Michigan, is on the road to a major expansion. When completed, the Motown Museum will have an additional 50,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, a state-of-the-art performance theater, new recording studios, more retail space, and additional meeting spaces. The design for the addition is being led by Phil Freelon of Perkins+Will, in collaboration with Detroit-based architect of record Hamilton Anderson Associates. The visitor experience and exhibitions are being designed by Maryland-based Gallagher & Associates. Phil Freelon’s work for Perkins+Will often focuses on highlighting the contributions of African Americans to American history and culture. Freelon was part of the team that designed the recently completed National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. “What has been happening in the U.S. for the last 24 months reminds me of the social and political upheaval of the late 1960s,” says Freelon in a press release. “It is critical that we as a nation see past our differences, focus on our commonalities, and unite to advance a single, shared cause: equality for all Americans.” The Motown Museum will take this vision of the past seriously be preserving the original Hitsville house, with a campus of buildings around the iconic location. The city, design team, and the museum see the $50 million project as more than just an investment in the museum. The hope is that the expansion will have a very real impact on the surrounding community and Detroit as a whole, bring jobs, tourists, and pride to the New Center neighborhood. “Our goal is to bring the expanded Motown Museum to the world, to inspire dreams and serve as an educational resource for global and local communities while creating an international mecca of music and entertainment history,” said Romin R. Terry, chairwoman and CEP of the Motown Museum. “This expanded facility will be an exhilarating national and international tourist destination which will allow us to narrate and celebrate on a much larger scale what the Motown legacy is recognized for: Unmatched creative genius that transcends every barrier imaginable by bringing people together from all walks of life to share that unmistakable Motown sound.”

Michael Maltzan Architecture to expand Hammer Museum

Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles have announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot, multi-year expansion to the museum’s existing facilities at the foot of the University of California, Los Angeles campus. The newly-announced additions and changes come as MMA completes renovations to several existing galleries in the museum. That project has seen MMA consolidate existing spaces to enable a continuous, 10,000-square-foot gallery space, a programmatic requirement necessary for hosting most major traveling exhibitions. Those renovated galleries will debut to the public this weekend and feature new exhibitions with pieces by American sculptor Jimmie Durham and French painter Jean Dubuffet. In a press release announcing the expansion, Hammer Museum Director Ann Philbin said, “After years of continuous growth, the Hammer is in need of a physical expansion and upgrade to provide more art for our audiences, more places to study, and more places to gather.” The next set of renovations will build on existing capabilities by increasing the museum’s exhibition space by 60% and will include the addition of a new gallery dedicated to works on paper and special collections, in addition to creating a new museum store. Plans also call for increasing community spaces by 20,000 square feet. Renderings released by the architect depict white-walled gallery spaces with minimal detailing and blonde wood floors. MMA’s renovations will also include re-programming the ground floor facade along Wilshire Boulevard to increase transparency between the interiors and the street. In the same press release, Maltzan said, “The Hammer has become an essential destination in Los Angeles. This transformation will make it dramatically more visible and inviting, more connected, more immersive. It will mark a major new chapter for what the Hammer is, and what it can be.” MMA has a long list of previous projects at the museum, including designs for the museum’s Billy Wilder Theater in 2006, renovations to the museum’s courtyard in 2012, and the John V. Tunney Bridge, built in 2015. The Hammer Museum is located along the ground and lower floors of the 16-story Occidental Petroleum Building, a midcentury office tower originally designed by architect Claud Beelman in 1962. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.

United States Marshals Museum moves closer to construction

To coincide with the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service, the United States Marshals Museum’s opening date is set for September 24, 2019. Designed by Cambridge Seven Associates along with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, the institution’s foundation has also launched a $60 million fundraising campaign for construction.

The new 50,000-square-foot museum will be located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and will feature a collection of artifacts spread across three galleries exploring the 230-year history of the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency, a Hall of Honor for those killed in the line of duty, and a National Learning Center that will promote an understanding of constitutional democracy.

Peter Kuttner, president of Cambridge Seven Associates and principal architect for the museum, consciously blended history with modern sustainability in the design. The museum looks out over the Arkansas River, which used to serve as a border between the former colonies and what was known as the frontier at the time of the Marshals’ establishment in 1789. The scheme also incorporates photovoltaic panels and vegetative roofing along the building’s star-shaped design, which,along with its use of bronze, is reflective of the badges worn by marshals in earlier years.

From his research, Kuttner found that “there was no official badge manufacturer in Washington,” that “some were stamped on tin, some were cast, some [stars] had five points, some had six points,” and “when you buy souvenirs, they’re all different sizes and looks.”

For his inspiration for the star-shaped aesthetic, Kuttner looked to one of the last scenes in the movie High Noon, in which U.S. Marshal Will Kane tosses his badge to the ground. “It hits at an angle, with some of the points jutting out of the ground,” he said, explaining his approach to the museum as “low on the front, and high on the back.” The infamous High Noon drawing by former President Bill Clinton, who serves as honorary chair of the museum’s executive committee, still hangs in the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and served as “a great little connection” that got the committee on board, Kuttner said.

The facility is projected to cost $35.9 million, with $12.3 million in total exhibits, a $4 million endowment, nearly $3 million in contingencies, and $3.5 million for one-year operating expenses. Just over $29 million is listed in committed fundraising so far.

With almost half of the campaign target already secured, the museum still faces fundraising challenges. In a conversation with Talk Business & Politics, Jim Dunn, president of the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation, cited the agency’s low profile, as well as the location of its future home in Fort Smith as specific points of tension. “Convincing donors to export large chunks of money to a distant and unknown community is difficult,” he said.

At present, the museum’s eight-member staff is working out of offices in Fort Smith, maintaining some 500 items that will eventually be used in the museum’s exhibitions. The museum staff is set to expand to 18–20 people upon opening.

With regard to the museum’s funding and the array of design elements, specifically the sustainable features, Kuttner expressed anxiety about its execution: “I’m crossing my fingers that those elements survive value-engineering,” he said.

Dallas Holocaust Museum inches toward construction

In late October, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum announced a series of steps to push a proposed new museum building into reality. With over two-thirds of funding secured, the museum launched a “Building a Foundation of Hope” capital campaign to raise the final portion of the $61 million budget needed to start construction.

The 50,000-square-foot structure will be built in Dallas’s West End neighborhood near Houston Street and the DART Rail corridor along Pacific Avenue. The property, which currently serves as a parking lot, will be transformed into a public building that will accommodate more than 200,000 visitors per year and nearly quadruple the amount of exhibition space that the museum currently boasts within its existing facility. “We are limited in the number of visitors we can see at one time, and many schools and thousands of students are not able to visit as their class sizes are too large for our current museum,” said Frank Risch who serves as the campaign co-chair for the new museum. “We have been forced to move many of our events to other venues.” The museum, awarded an Unbuilt Design Award by AIA Dallas in 2015, will take two years to complete from the start of construction.

The building, designed by Omniplan Architects, will serve as a vessel for remembering the Holocaust and its victims and will also extend the dialogue to human rights in modern America. “We need a place that allows us to have a discussion about what human rights, diversity, and respect for others mean for our city today,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings during the announcement of the capital campaign. Permanent exhibitions, under the direction of Michael Berenbaum, who served as the project director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will feature engaging galleries and content as well as expanded resources and archives. The designers seek to engage the public in a manner that creates individual experiences, allowing one to connect with the museum in a very personal way.

Beyond the physical and metric constraints that drove the concept, the Holocaust Museum will fulfill a message that has been understated in the community, especially in the context of recent attacks. “At a time when Texas leads the nation in the number of active hate groups, and the Dallas community is still healing from the July 7 attack on local law enforcement officers, the most violent and hateful act against law enforcement officers since 9/11, we believe the mission of the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is more important than ever,” said museum president and CEO Mary Pat Higgins.

This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect's Newspaper's coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.