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Connecting Plymouth To The Cosmos – The Redevelopment of Plymouth City Museum

Part 1 Project 2012
Philip Leighton
Plymouth University Plymouth UK
As a cultural artefact I believe architecture provides us with an ‘existential foothold’. It can reveal to us our collective ‘inner world’ and, unlike other physical artefacts, literally place us within it. The quality of this immersion has the potential to afford us a ‘more’ grounded relation to our life world – and is one that becomes available to us through our embodied, emotional and performative relation with architecture. There are many calls to foster this relation between cosmology, architecture and our embodied emotional understandings.

As part of my final year at Plymouth University I sought to address these issues, while creating a design for the redevelopment of Plymouth City Museum. The brief called for a variety of accommodation, including Natural History, Contemporary and Temporary gallery spaces, lecture theatre, education space, café, restaurant, local history and reading room.

Through my design I have sought a harmony between addressing contextual, pragmatic, and typological issues, while also seeking to create an experience that will allow the user to question his/her sense of identity, and poetic significance within the world.

The centrepiece of the museum comes in the form of a 3 storey ‘Wall of Curiosities’ running the length of my building. The wall is intended as a microcosm of the universe, allowing visitors to draw connections between artefact from different continents and centuries, thus allowing the visitor to find their own place in the world.

In addition, I have attempted to reconnect the Museum to the city of Plymouth, primarily through providing space within the museum for the public to display their own interests and activities as part of the museum display. These ‘community cabinets’ will offer a fascinating glimpse at modern life in Plymouth as we well as create a renewed sense of public ownership and interaction with the museum.

Philip Leighton

Tutor(s)
Mr Anthony Aldrich
2012
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