A few months ago, Serbin Studio was approached by the Buckeye Valley Historical Society with an architectural challenge. A conceptual design for the exterior of the existing ‘Buckeye Valley Museum’ so that the architecture reflects their mission, ‘To bring a better understanding and appreciation of the history and cultural significance of Buckeye Valley’.
Click on it for larger image
Conceptual Design of Buckeye Valley Museum
The building today lightly reflects back to the historic architecture of Buckeye Valley and through time has blended into the historic fabric in a way that the building is not apparent to the average visitor in Buckeye.
Original Museum renovation to look like Kell store
Current museum 2014 . Beige is not the new black. Consult a color specialist when you paint your building. Did I mention Lara Serbin is a color expert.
Buckeye has a long history dating back to 1885. Prior to the mid 1970’s, the main highway from Phoenix to California passed through downtown Buckeye. But just as we have seen in the ‘CARS‘ movie, the highway system was created and now by-passes historic downtown.
If you want to get a good glimpse of the history of Buckeye, two books written by Verlyne Meck capture Buckeye through images and words. “Buckeye, then and now” & “Buckeye (AZ) images of America”.
Since being part of a 3rd generation Arizona family and member of the Buckeye Main Street Coalition, I had a good strong foundation for understanding the Museum’s architectural significance. However with every project, further research exposed us to hidden treasures that are only talked about amongst Buckeye residents.
Some inspirations were:
Kell Store built in 1890’s
Hillbilly Hilton. If you get a chance, take a tour of this snapshot in time
Our intent was to minimally alter the interior exhibits and through the use of architectural features, contextual materials and textures enhance the exterior of the building so it clearly indicates what it is, ‘Buckeye Valley Museum’. We created a sense of arrival and a clear pathway into Buckeye’s history. The exterior is now a snapshot of the history and hidden gems within.
The museum had a re-opening on September 27, 2014 and is open Friday’s and Saturday’s from 11 am – 4 pm. The interior renovation is complete. The museum is now on a fund raising campaign to raise money and materials to complete the exterior facade upgrades. For further information, contact the Buckeye Valley Museum at 602-230-1299.
Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see James Turrell a retrospective. Turrell is really wonderful but I will save that for another post. What blew my mind was the fantastic architectural models done by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. He seems like such an approachable architect, so down to earth. I guess that is why his work is on display here at LACMA. This is a quote that I read off the wall at the exhibit: It is an organic shape, like a water lily, floating and open with 360 degrees of glass facing Hancock Park, the La Brea Tar Pits, Wilshire Boulevard, Chris Burden’s Urban Light, and Renzo Piano’s new galleries. Primary circulation is achieved by this curving perimeter – a continuous veranda rather than a classical Beaux-Arts spine. Visitors can look out; those outside can look in. From the ground, and in elevation, the museum is mostly transparent. – Peter Zumthor
I still can’t get over the base of this site model, the entire base is cast in a concrete plaster mixture. Zumthor must have cast the buildings upside down in a mold. The street names are even cast in the mix. So the black amoeba looking thing is the proposed new museum for LACMA. As far as I understand the design still needs to be approved by the board of the directors, the new building will require the removal of several older structures by other architects. The older buildings are disconnected from one another. When I first read about this project back in Arizona I couldn’t realize the magnitude of it. It wasn’t until I walked the grounds of the LACMA, smelled the bubbling tar pits and felt disconnected by having to go in and out of buildings to see exhibits.
I love the tar pits as shown in the models. The trees on the bigger scale model are tattered muslin on sticks. One of the blob protrusions of the black blob will cantilever over the La Brea Tar Pit. That will be totally cool. As it is now, the tar pits are pretty disconnected from the LACMA experience. I think the older museum buildings are just creepy and dark as well. Getting back to the models, the large scale model of the actual new building is so huge I couldn’t capture it with my Iphone. The photo above on the right is just a snap of what it will be like to see through the glass walls that will be 360 around the entire structure. Of course common sense asks how this big flat black roof will drain and what the sea of proposed solar panels will look like.
This is a working model on the left. I say working model because of the pins that are holding up the walls. It is supposed to be the largest museum in any city. There are lots of questions in my mind about how storage will work and especially egress. I know at the Phoenix Art Museum there is one main entry and it is highly supervised. I can’t imagine how much it would cost to have 3 museum main entries that Zumthor is proposing for this project. The photo on the right is a study model of light quality for a gallery space. All he did was put a piece of vellum on top of the foam core walls. Museum spaces will not have ambient light if there is a big black flower for a roof?
I enjoyed the models immensely! I am excited to watch this project play out. It is encouraging to know that Zumthor has already been at this project for 6 years and it has not yet been accepted. Zumthor is an inspiration for me in that he comes from a quiet country place in Switzerland and he came to Los Angeles to design an exciting forward looking work of art. He has taken his time to get familiar with Los Angeles and it paid off. I want this black flower to bloom over Los Angeles.