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GRAND RAPIDS ART MUSEUM

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, USA (1983)


This proposal revitalizes the city's downtown area by reusing a distinguished, but now vacant, former government building and by adapting a number of abandoned or underused neighboring structures for additional cultural functions. The main 1908 Beaux-Arts building is upgraded to meet codes and programmatic requirements. A relocation of the entrance from the closed side of the U-shaped building to the open court-yard establishes a direct physical relationship between the museum and its surroundings while creating a single, unified entrance. Covering the court-yard, a translucent inclined plane of stairs has an opening at its center that leads to the Grand Foyer which is a shared space for the different departments. Water descends slowly and evenly from the top of the stairway along a channel carved into the plane, leaving a clear pedestrian path for those walking up the stairs. This water is, in fact, the very water used for the air-conditioning system. In this way, the need for an unsightly cooling tower has been eliminated and this silent cascade becomes the focal point of the city's newest public space.



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