Olson Kundig Architects - Lightcatcher at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA Print E-mail
Monday, 15 November 2010 07:56

RelatedOlson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects's Wing Luke Asian Museum
Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects have designed the new Wing Luke Asian Museum. The firm’s design preserves and restores the historic fabric of the East Kong Yick Building and offers new and expanded space to the Wing Luke Asian Museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate and America’s premier pan-Asian Pacific American museum. Rick Sundberg, principal of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen, led the...
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The Lightcatcher Building will be newest addition to the Whatcom Museum. It is located in the downtown area of Bellingham, WA, within a newly created, Arts and Cultural District, which includes restored adjacent landmarks. Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-14

The Museum’s mission is to provide informative, innovative and interactive educational programs and exhibitions about art and Northwest history and the influences that affected their evolution. It seeks to stimulate inquiry about our changing cultural, natural and historical landscapes, for the youngest to the oldest minds, and to inspire preservation of and creative contributions to our region. The Museum’s collection holds more than 200,000 artifacts and art pieces of regional importance, including a vast photographic archive.

All Photographs by Tim Bies/Olson Kundig Architects
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Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-13The new building is called upon to serve multiple functions. It will display world-class art within multiple exhibit spaces and galleries, and host exhibitions from other museums, including the Smithsonian Institute. It should create a cultural and social center for the city of Bellingham, with a space for a children’s museum and art museum, a resource reading space which will also allow for story time. Throughtout the day, ARTCARTS will be rolled out for spontaneous activities for youth.
Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-16
The 5,000 sf courtyard of the building aims to be a new major public space for the city, and a 37’ tall, 180’ long translucent wall, “the lightcatcher,” is the focal point to the space. Family friendly interactive gallery will connect people of all ages, including toddlers, with art related activities that also have a connection to our environment. It will feature activities that invite children to create, role play, and interact with experiential activities.
The courtyard garden, designed by landscape architect Charles Anderson, is called the "Garden of the Ancients" and continues the regional theme of the building. It integrates a huge rock that recalls the geology of the region and the rock outcroppings around Bellingham, a Gingko tree that partners with a Sequoia tree across the street. Both species of tree were here when dinosaurs roamed the Northwest. Native ferns are ancient Northwest plants. A bench of petrified wood is from a prehistoric Gingko tree.

The building is registered and designed to LEED Silver level. It should be the first LEED Silver museum in Washington State.
Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-08Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-12The huge curving Lightcatcher wall encloses an exterior courtyard while it creates dynamic drama for the indoor circulation spaces. The curved wall is shaped to capture sunlight and reflect it into the outdoor courtyard. Sunshine and daylight pass through this wall giving interior spaces a warm luminosity.

At night, light from within glows through the glass and creates a soft lantern-like effect. It is a beacon of light for the community. At night, the curbed wall becomes a glowing lantern that changes color, a canvas for projected art images, doubling up occasionally as s screen for outdoor movies or a backdrop for shadow puppet theater.



Last Updated on Thursday, 25 November 2010 11:27
 
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