Through the looking glass

Wednesday 29 Nov 2006

David Chipperfield Architects Figge Museum in Iowa

The 10,000 m2 Figge Art Museum occupies a riverside site partially located on the Mississippi River's flood plain in the downtown area of Davenport. The new museum is the centrepiece of Davenport's Strategic Plan for Downtown Development and acts as a catalyst for regeneration in the area. Identifying a wish to create some kind of emblematic building for the new city, the design of the Figge Art Museum was conceived as a monolithic glass structure that would powerfully yet simply landmark Davenport's redeveloped waterfront. Its architecture is based around the idea of a simple volumetric block enveloped by opaque, transparent, and translucent surfaces. These glass surfaces are fritted with horizontal banding that varies in density so as to define each of the museum's formal elements. In urban terms, the design looks to support the old city grid by filling one half of a previously empty city block.

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