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A museum full of hope

Nick Myall
Thursday 10 Sep 2015

A new museum in Michigan, USA is reminiscent of an artist’s palette in shape

The new museum, at Hope College, Michigan, USA which opened on September 9th has a two-storey façade sheathed in flame-cut charcoal grey slate panels. It creates a curved perimeter by overlapping to form a pleat pattern and is reminiscent of an artist’s palette in shape. The Modernist structure creates a dialog with the existing campus by acting as a pavilion structure in the campus’ centre, while providing a counterpoint to the surrounding backdrop of red brick collegiate architecture.

The museum’s interior has a ‘double-lung’, leaf floor plan for a variety of public and private spaces on two levels. In addition to serving as a resource for the entire campus and surrounding area, the transformational model allows for open display of College’s collected works and provides opportunities for students to be involved directly. As a ‘teaching museum’ the facility acts as a classroom for hands-on learning across several disciplines and allows students to participate in exhibition development, training, collection management and research.

"The completion of the new museum positions Hope College to bring its collection to life for a new generation of students, faculty and visitors," said Matthew VanderBorgh, Director and Lead Architect of C Concept Design and Hope College alumni, Class of ‘84.

VanderBorgh likens the project method to a concept in the Netherlands called the “polder model,” referring to a greater level of cooperation by various societies living in the shared polders to work together in service of a greater purpose. 

VanderBorgh provided design services pro-bono, alongside donated services by Donald Battjes (Class of ’68), former Chief of Operations at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, for leadership guidance for advance programmatic planning.

The total project cost is $7.8m (US), including construction and an endowment for ongoing building maintenance.  

Nick Myall

News Editor

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