Museum of Science Fiction (Washington, DC, USA, Competition, Top Designs Selection)

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Science fiction is represented by two opposing views, dystopia and utopia, and everything in between. Dystopian view is typically characterized by industrial aesthetic with its ruggedness, roughness, and raw and dark finishes while utopian view illustrated by aerodynamic and ergonomic/organic forms with its lightness and sleek finishes. These two representations are used as the basis for the design of Museum of Science Fiction (MoSF).

Dystopian design inspires the exterior of the museum. The museum consists of prefabricated modular insulated and conditioned custom boxes on trailers that can be transported via trucks or trains. These boxes are attached to one another by electrically charged magnetic edges for ease of setting up and disassembling. Clear coated raw steel are proposed for the exterior material in combination with structural silicone insulated glass. Glass faced sides are protected by sliding steel doors during transportation bearing the museum’s logo for marketing and identification. These sliding doors also function as external shading device when the glass face is not on a desired sun exposure due to uncertain and varied location of the museum.

Utopian view rules the interior of the museum. Internally lit translucent gallery walls, self-illuminating way finding and constellation-like lighting are proposed for the interior. Reception/ticket counter and gift shelves are sculptural elements while gallery walls borrow MoSF’s logo to arrange the seven galleries within the museum, creating a seamless flow of gallery viewing circulation. Gallery walls are made out of translucent plastic or resin in modular sections for easy removal should a larger room for 300 is needed. Interior walls are stainless steel mirror finish to reflect the surrounding are for surrealistic experience. Floor and ceiling are made of brushed aluminum plates with embedded self-illuminating signage and star constellation arranged light fixtures.

MoSF becomes a constant reminder of the two representations from both outside and inside the building, unconsciously telling us that the future could be either bright, gloomy or anything in between.

Regardless of our view towards future, we are faced with the issue of environment responsibility which is also the core issue in science fiction. The museum is designed to take this into account through prefabrication, the use of easily recycled materials, and repurpose/reuse.

Custom boxes of the modular unit and interior components are prefabricated in a controlled environment to ensure not only for the highest quality of product but also its energy performance. Air leakage is minimized. Gaskets are used at the electrically charged joints for weather protection.

At the end of its use, the museum can be sold and repurposed as an office, a house or other uses in whole or parts.

Note: See top designs selection on Architect’s Newspaper article.



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