History is the collection, cataloging, interpretation, and presentation of past events. This is typically done through a unified narrative that serves to contextually bind the information, though it invariably leads to bias and subjectivity, despite efforts to the contrary.
A contemporary museum dedicated to ‘present history’ serves as a physical context for current events. In our vastly interconnected global society, information is more readily available than ever and the lag time for interpretation and presentation is drastically reduced. We are able to witness history instantly.
The museum is comprised primarily of small, individual-scaled galleries that display real-time video footage of global ‘history-in-the-making.’ The content of these feeds can be readily changed based on an exhibition theme, but can encompass any number of issues, from international politics to local environmental concerns or improvements.
Two unique galleries are directly related to the strong boundaries of the site: the berms of I-35 and the eroded banks of Waller Creek. These galleries are nestled among the homogeneous honeycomb of video galleries, but their projection surface is replaced by glass, the gallery framing a distinct view of site just beyond the building’s walls. The framing of these banal scenes in a gallery setting gives them an immediacy and local importance.
The intimate scale of the gallery rooms, as well as the panoramic displays are meant to provide an immersive experience for the viewer, hopefully eliciting an emotional response. In order to encourage activism and history-making in the building, a series of public gathering spaces and meeting rooms are interspersed, where museum goers can catalog, interpret, and represent the events they have witnessed.
The primary program of video installations required strictly controlled lighting conditions, while public and communal functions demanded access to natural light and greater spatial volume.
The primitive cubic form of the building accommodates the galleries, where a monolithic, orthogonal facade blocks all unwanted daylight, and the twisting voids of the boolean operation create a dual atrium and glazing strategy for the building. The curved forms introduce daylight, and thereby define the public realms of the building.