Architectural design of the burning prairie Museum in the United States
Tags: architectural scheme museum design public building natural history museum American Museum of natural history
Project Name: the burning prairie Museum of the United States
Project location: US project scale: 41000.0 square feet
Design company: Verner Johnson
What benefits can museum design bring to the sprawling sense of fragmentation in the new suburbs, the mediocre and often challenged surroundings? In response to this challenge, the project adopts an architectural approach to redefining the suburbs to create new potential social influences in Museum typology. Through symbolically reflecting the story of the area and people’s emotional attraction to its architecture, the museum is the carrier that connects people’s spirit to their residence, and provides a social sense for the suburban environment.
The design concept evokes an image of one of the most unique aspects of the local Kansas area: the blaze. From layout to volume, form, materials and details, all design decisions revolve around this concept. The continuous “hills” form the background landscape of dancing and jumping “fire line”. The dynamic change of material color and reflection makes these flames come true: rainbow color business stainless steel panel mixed with innovative dichroic glass, making the museum located in the wetland park far away from the main road, which is a landmark building of a 60 acre new living and working place.
The LEED silver certification of the project proves its green environmental design and construction practice, which embodies the sustainable building concept – the protection of high grassland ecosystem. The museum is designed as a civic center with world-class tourism exhibits from the American Museum of natural history. By engaging local residents in a broader cultural and scientific experience, while architecturally integrating the rich stories of the area, the museum puts it in a larger context and creates an identity for the suburbs.
The design boldly contrasts with the surrounding environment, but creates new and provocative regionalism through the arrangement of unique materials, forms and technologies, so as to integrate the local characteristics. In order to overcome the challenge of attracting tourists during the rolling between travel exhibitions, the building itself becomes an exhibition project. The colorful sculpture design reinterprets the practice of regional stone and integrates the natural stratification of local limestone. The stainless steel panel with color offset LIC (light interaction color) is designed with a gradual change from blue to gold, which responds to the flames and sparks in the intention.
The most advanced insulating dichroic glass is specially developed for this project, which is considered as the first application project in North America. Its unique color changing and reflective characteristics give people the illusion of being engulfed by fire. In contrast to the vibrant exterior, the colonnade, cathedral like interior, coupled with the serene blue and purple dichroic light, brings a sense of quiet awe. The exterior wall system innovatively integrates the structural steel frame and the single panel curtain wall into a thin customized system, arousing the transience of the flame.
The exposed roof beams and gray roof forms a swirling smoke pattern on the ceiling. The exhibition covers the whole lobby space, with hands-on exploration rooms for children and coffee house settings overlooking the wetland landscape, providing more activities and exchanges between the travel exhibitions for people. This kind of design does not depend on and comply with the shortage of suburban sprawl. It defines the uniqueness of the environment, establishes the emotional connection between people and places, and makes the suburb a magnificent, unique and sustainable community environment.