Museums of the future are self-referential

Museums of the future are self-referential

Museums of the future will be places where people experience undiscovered aspects of themselves, if CPIT's second year architectural studies projects are any indication.

Imagine walking down a long dark corridor, alone, with only your thoughts for company; then finally emerging into an uplifting, light-filled space. Or negotiating a double helix structure where you can try out any of 30 different types of careers. Or experiencing unexpected transitions into, and out of, an underground museum of dreams.

Briefed to design a museum or gallery space, the students were freed from the technical requirements of previous assignments this year. With no restraints on their creativity, they eschewed the more traditional display of artefacts and artworks and delved into more imaginative realms where structures exist to nurture secret lives and to reveal hidden dreams.

The results are thought provoking. 

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Museum of Dreams by Zeke Bell

Inspired by the underworld of Greek mythology, Zeke Bell envisaged an otherworldly museum of dreams for the designated site, which is bordered by Barbadoes Street and Moorhouse Avenue on the Madras Street campus.

The transitions between the real world and Zeke's underground gallery are the key to its creativity. "The things you remember most vividly are the things that get you thinking. So I decided the museum of dreams would be really interesting – a place not of this world."

The entrance is marked by a sculptural elm tree, echoing the elm tree gateway of Greek mythology. The descent, by elevator, takes the voyagers down through a shallow lake to a platform, where they are collected by a punt to travel on a second layer of water to the eight gallery chambers.

"All you can see is a lake and a small entrance reached by a walkway and a lake with an elm tree sculpture.  The gallery is 8m down.

"What I hoped to achieve was something unlike anything you have ever experienced. Going into the world is important but what about the transition out?

Bell's idea for leaving the gallery is just as spectacular and memorable. Another elevator; but your attention is captured by an installation, perhaps a videowork, which disguises the fact that you are ascending, this time above the lake and high enough to view the city, before sinking back down to a walkway on the lake.

With a flair for engineering, Zeke originally enrolled in a university engineering degree, but was alienated by the large lectures and impersonal nature of the learning delivery. "AT CPIT, the contact with the tutors is invaluable," he says.

Living Choices Museum by Aggy Jeon


Had Aggy Jeon studied in Korea, studying architecture would have been a different experience. At CPIT she loves the small classes, vibrant studio atmosphere and having the chance to explore – sustainable building methods being a favourite area of interest this year.

Deciding on a career is an important decision and Aggy was reminded of a museum she visited in Korea, which she used as inspiration for this self-referential concept of a Museum of Living Choices.

Her concept is an elegant double helix building where visitors can experience human activity related to careers in 30 areas of study currently offered at CPIT.  "Young people run through various activities inside the building, taking a pseudo-role of their future occupation to ex­perience what the real work is like. The pro­grammes are designed to help them to find their interests and talents," Jeon says.

The double helix relates to human DNA, which shapes our talents and interests and the activities within the building guide us to discover the alignment of these innate abilities with the vocational programmes on offer. 

The SELF by Jonny Knopp

"A museum of intangible things" is how Jonny Knopp describes his intriguing project: The SELF. In this museum the 'artwork' is the intended accessing of our inner selves and exploring the constructs that prop up our identity – gradually all that is familiar to us is stripped away.

It sounds a little spooky – and it is. But there is a purpose at play and it is self-discovery. "How can we build a society if we don't know who we are?" Jonny says.

This journey begins from the carpark, Jonny explains. Tall columns mark the courtyard and start to block the view of the street as the voyagers move through toward the building.

Enter a high darkened space; the sky disappears; there is only a high window and shaft of light offering any guidance about what to do next. This building gives you clues but you have to work out what you are doing here yourself and, tellingly, alone. As you walk toward the shaft of light the sounds of your footsteps and perhaps your breathing are amplified back to you by hyper-sensitive sound panels. Another shaft of light to follow, sound disappears as you ascend a long ramp for eight to 10 minutes – alone with your thoughts and a stripped down sense of yourself without context.

Then at once the spookiness and aloneness lift as you step into a light filled garden, lifted further by the whimsy of overhead chandeliers, with an unspoken invitation to sit at a large table and perhaps share your experience.A professional photographer before enrolling in architectural studies, Jonny didn't fully understand the path he'd chosen until well into the programme he says. "In the third term it clicked. I realised the power of architecture. Architecture is about people – that ability to connect people is invaluable. "

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