Client: Museum of London / Architecture Foundation
Location: Museum of London, London
Status: Competition - Shortlisted 2014

Museum of London - House of Muses

Our proposal for the House of Muses takes the form of a spatial graph. It begins life as a neutral ‘core’ structure within the Museum of London. Gradually as the public visit the building and consider the questions being asked of them opinions are formed and translated to colourful, organic growths on the building’s façade. The diversity of colours and shapes are representative of the diversity of opinion within the city.

This is achieved through a simple task that the public are asked to take part in. Visitors vote for their answer to the multiple choice question by inflating a balloon of the appropriate colour. They then write their own idea or comment onto the balloon and clip it onto the façade from inside the building. The façade of the building becomes a constantly regenerating forest of data with thousands of brightly coloured latex balloons each representing a single person’s opinion.

Structure - The lightweight core structure is made from a radial array of 18 identical timber ribs. The ribs have a cross section of 100 x 30mm and a height of 2850mm. These are braced at the top, bottom and centre (which also acts as a handrail). The ribs sit on a timber strip footing which acts to spread the load across the surface of existing ground. The ribs are clad in lightweight plastic sheets with a CNC routed pattern that allows the balloons to be placed through from the inside and clipped on.

Construction – The building has been designed to be easily prefabricated from 18 identical sections. Each measures approximately 0.7 x 0.8 x 2.9m and can be transported to site as a single piece. These will then be bolted together in a radial array to create the final geometry.