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Anchorage Museum, Alaska, United States

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Chipperfield's Anchor lifts

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09/01/12 Wanda Seamster, Anchorage
"In order to create an emblematic building for the city, David Chipperfield conceived the . . . Museum as a monolithic glass structure . . . . based around the idea ofr simple volumetric block enveloped by opague, transparent, and translucent surfaces . . . the design looks to support the old city grid by filling one half of a previously emply city block."

The above description fits the new Anchorage Museum expansion extremely well, except that it is, instead, a description of the Figge Museum taken from archinnovations.com, June 4, 2009. Anchorage Museum is not as innovative as it is yet another variation of the longtime theme offered by this architect. The new expansion even has the same brilliantly red cafe as the Figge and the same emphasis on scenic landscape that can be viewed from the Museum (at the expense of wall space for the collections). Anchorage appears to have gotten leftover ideas for a very hefty price.
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David Chipperfield Architects’ Anchorage Museum expansion set to open 

David Chipperfield Architects’ new 8,000 sq m Anchorage Museum Expansion will open to the public on 30 May 2009.

The organisation of the new building is based on five linear volumes of varying length and height arranged along the western face of the existing building. This arrangement forms a new gleaming facade and entrance facing downtown Anchorage. The new building offers windows through which the activity of the museum can be observed. The visitor, from within, is re-oriented to the city context and its extraordinary natural setting beyond. The glass facade of the new four-storey building is fritted with a striped mirror pattern, providing views out of and into the museum and reflecting the sky and surrounding mountainous environment.

The interior design concept exposes the concrete structure as part of the character of the internal spaces. Walls are constructed between columns to establish a series of rooms within the new building. The main public spaces – the entrance lobby, circulation atrium, cafe, and exhibition spaces – use different colours and materials to give each its own identity. Windows have been positioned in all non-exhibition spaces and some exhibition spaces.

The Anchorage Museum Expansion will also house the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, exhibiting 600 Alaska Native ethnographic artefacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian. The new common created in front of the museum will provide a new public space for downtown Anchorage.

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David Chipperfield Architects

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