Museum of Time
Harvard Graduate School of Design - Spring 2012


The Contemporary Art Museum is the place where time manifests itself - where the images we will live by tomorrow are housed as they first make their appearance. It must modulate this interface of several coexisting time frames within the same space through which the visitor negotiates his way. In an effort to foster a fertile territory for the artwork of tomorrow, new contemporary art museums must seize this moment and allow its visitors to transcend the psychology of this passing of time.

In Chris Marker's film, "La Jetee", the protagonist navigates the layers of time in between the underground passages of a post-apocalyptic world and the childhood image of a woman's face on the airport jetty. He describes these chance encounters through time as the "museum of his memories". The Contemporary Art Museum offers a similar time traveling experience - a travel to the immediate future, a depository for messages from the future, which resound with echoes through the distant past by the brilliance of its images.

Framed between the underground and the jetty, this museum takes on the polarization of a house, in which the main floor is framed by the attic and the cellar, as described in Bachelard's "La Poetique de l'Espace". The cellar grounds it in its context - in this case, the context of art history and practice (the library, the lecture halls and workshops), but also offers a place of obscurity in "which we get in tune with the the irrationality of the depths", the shadows of our human condition, through phantasmagoric dreams (such as the media exhibits). "In the cellar, darkness prevails both day and night, even when we are carrying a candle, we see shadows dancing on the dark walls."

The attic plays a different role, as "we always go up the attic stairs, for they bear the mark of ascension to a more tranquil solitude." In this museum, the roof - or jetty - is a place to which we ascend to find this solitude and space to escape the business of the main art floor, and to dream the art of tomorrow.

The main art floor is sloped with the terrain of the site and fragmented by flowing curtains - themselves partitions in motion, whose fabric captures each moment in its sway.


Exploded Perspective


Exploded Perspective
Fashion Show
View from stairs