Museum of Time /Thesis Studio/ .:calvin lu::
Kevin Nute

Adjunct professor:
Randy Teal

Project timeframe:
Winter & spring 2004

Greenwich, UK [map]
Located on the first meridian in Greenwich, this museum will tell the story of time measurement devices as well as the solution to the longitude problem. The programmatic elements integrated with the unique site will provide an opportunity to tell the story of time measurement through the interaction between the architecture and the prime meridian. Conceptual development or site response may independently determine the incredible success or catastrophic failure of the end result.

Aside from the first meridian, a number of historic buildings exist on or near the site, including Sir Christopher Wren's Royal Observatory, and respect must be paid. Farther down from the site, but still very much within the scope of the project are the Queen's House and the Old Royal Naval College.

In addition to the heightened contextual issues, the projected size of the building has a very probable chance to overshadow all the other buildings on the site. The programmatic elements include the primary time gallery, the tertiary longitude solution gallery, a temporary gallery, both an internal auditorium, gift shop, cafe, administration spaces, and standard building support spaces.

Conceptual design and site planning:
Countless hours over the span of several weeks have been spent on conceptual design. A large variety of concepts ranging from simple to complex were produced, covering many pages in my sketchbook. In the end, a simple concept was chosen in conjunction with other subordinate concepts. In addition to simple concepts being more recognizable by visitors, they mold better to the history of time measurement devices, not the concept of time itself, as the studio was advertised as.

A timeline and its patterns with regard to technological advancements of time measurement devices was chosen as the major concept for my scheme, as depicted by the concept diagrams. Site response was another major catalyst for the schematic design. The site is largely a campus type of site, but it is not currently formed as such. As opposed to the vast majority of the studio who simply left the site in disrepair, I addressed the issue of the site by defining its boundaries, creating a large quad in the middle of the site, occupied with the exterior auditorium to help occupy the area.

Schematic design:
I began with the idea of a longitudinal gallery traveling perpendicular to the prime meridian, as depicted by this sketch. However, the site did not allow for this as it was too narrow. Furthermore, this orientation did not help the site improve any. After playing around with it further, I decided to go with an oblique angle to the prime meridian so that the visitors may see the prime meridian and their progressive distance to it as they view the gallery. I let one of the existing buildings dictate the angle, as it fit the space I needed well. The vertex between the two dictated a strong element, which was perfect for a tower.

With the location of the primary gallery locked in, I was able to design all the other elements around it. I decided on a concrete element to define an entrance courtyard with the temporary gallery. The other supporting elements spring out from these two primary elements and the office spaces are placed on the lower floor, away from the public spaces. The auditorium naturally sprung out from the building, defining the hardscape.

Final presentation:
The presentation panels were designed to reflect my primary design concept. The white background printed on white glossy paper reflects the continuum, of timelines and contains all the technical and informative data, reflected similarly in my design. The black foreground printed on bond paper reflects the events marked on timelines and contains images as would be seen in real life, also reflected similarly in my design.

Spanning nineteen feet, my project was consistently hailed by my reviewers as one of the most clearly presented projects that they have seen. My professor mentioned at the exit interview that my project was one of, if not, the best project in the studio in terms of both architectural design and the presentation.

The software I used was AutoCAD for the plans and sections and Form-Z for the 3d-renderings. I used Adobe Photoshop to superimpose people into the renderings and used Adobe Illustrator to prepare the line work.

Axonometric view. The glass enclosure toward the left of the image is the entrance atrium. The concrete bar running up and down the image contains the temporary galleries while the circular piece jutting out of it contains the cafe and shop. The long glass bridge with wooden boxes contain the primary gallery space, while the cylindrical tower marks the merge between the gallery and the prime meridian, holding the tertiary gallery and outlooks into future technologies. Beyond the cylindrical tower is the vertical circulation along the prime meridian.