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Museum of the Moving Image

Part 1 Project 2003
David Arnold
Grace Mc Ginn
University for the Creative Arts Canterbury UK
Belgium holds a tradition of producing highly provocative and original films and therefore a project has been initiated to design a centre for cinematography entitled ‘The Museum of the Moving Image’ (MoMI).

The brief for the project contains two key components. First is a library offering a variation in facilities for amateur filmmakers. Second is a large exhibition space including an auditorium which screens both amateur and professional films.

The design for the MoMI breaks the two components into two separate structures which are situated in the centre of the square and linked underground. The structures become two sculptural rocks within the landscape, breaking the urban square into a series of smaller more intimate spaces but still retaining the square as a unified whole.
Flowing through the spaces and around the two metaphorical rocks are people passing through, or participating in the activities of the square.

Crucial to the success of the scheme is the external façade of the two structures. The façades transform in colour, texture, transparency and luminosity. This is achieved using a film coating produced by British manufacturer 3M. It is created using hundreds of layers of highly reflective plastic which each adjust their colour depending on the temperature of the surrounding environment. The colours range from deep earthly reds through to bright golden yellows.

Every louvre on the museum is fixed with the heat changing film; however, every louver is slightly different in colour and in its susceptibility to temperature change. Therefore, with the additional movement of each louver, the façade creates the final effect of a constantly alternating collage of colour and texture.

Effectively, a member of the public could walk past the MoMI to purchase a sandwich returning five minutes later and discover the museum had changed entirely in both colour and texture.

The design for the MoMI explores the idea of a building not as a single frame in time, but as a cinematic experience in constant change created by activities both within the building and the surrounding area. In affect the museum becomes a motion picture with a canvas of transforming colours and textures that creates a mystical reflection of life in Belgium.

David Arnold
Grace Mc Ginn


David is an independent and intelligent designer, tenacious in his pursuit of theoretical ideas to unforeseen conclusions. He has an insatiable appetite for research and is prepared to reject hard-won solutions in his exploration of new frontiers. His positive response to external and self criticism is the hallmark of a reflective practitioner who is not prepared to accept second best.

His design work in this final year of the Part 1 course has been influenced by Le Corbusier's 'La Ville Radieuse', which was the subject of an excellent dissertation, in which he produced an animation of Corb's vision.

His major project - for a Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Blankenberge, Belgium - was an imaginative urban design solution to a challenging programme on a gritty urban site.

His interests in architectural computing and the immateriality suggested by new façade engineering technology, came together in a powerful manner in the fabric of the buildings - concerned with the appearance of 'electronic' wall systems, both inside and outside, and the ways in which they could dematerialise planar elements. These wall systems were not merely visual artefacts; they also functioned as sophisticated environmental motors and filters.

David's prolific output was not just computer-generated. Far from being one-dimensional, he engaged in hand drawing and physical modelling in order to fully test his innovative ideas.

Tutor(s)

2003
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