The existing Public Museum dedicated to the “free dissemination of knowledge to all” takes a structured view of the world presented in its static halls, display cases and frames. The knowledge available is that which can be contained within its displays.
Re-envisioning a “public museum” for the 21st century, we propose a building serving a broad public, each individual visiting with his or her own stories and knowledge of the City and world. RAPIDexpression, a digital media center, will establish a place to create, collect and share this knowledge while introducing the community to the world.
Inspired by the intricate mapping of social networks and the fabric of Grand Rapids communities, we propose opening the building to its urban surroundings to attract and connect the digital expression that is already occurring at home, at work, or at play. At
An individual updates his or her digital presence.
A small business develops a media strategy.
A community dance group performs and records their work.
A class of school children learns about the tools and impact of digital technologies.
This collected exchange assembles a deep and changing portrait of the City. The RAPIDexpression center creates a truly public center for the City of Grand Rapids.
The proposed center is located along State Street at an important connection between the density and activity of Downtown to the west and the residential fabric of Heritage hill to the east.
The RAPIDexpression center is the interplay between two types of spaces arranged around the building’s central hall:
Preserving the building’s past, existing museum galleries are preserved and repurposed for the creation and editing of specialized digital media and collaborative work spaces. The reuse of these spaces with the proposed intervention layers past and present and supports the continuity of the center as a Public site.
Introducing the broad extents of the digital media center, a continuous, layered ribbon wall maps a network of movement through the building. It forms and connects spaces for public engagement with digital media and for gathering and performance spaces.
The RIBBON is envisioned as a perforated metal screen of varying opacities. Fibrous and textured, it suggests the threads and relationships that tie the city and its communities together. It provides a strong contrast to the smooth flat surfaces of the existing building. This new skin guides users through the building and highlights digital media being created and shared.