All posts by Justin Hedde

About Justin Hedde

Justin Hedde, AIA, is a Centerbrook Associate Principal. A graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, he has worked on academic and research buildings, including several at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island and a STEM classroom building at the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in Missouri.

How to Add a Maker Space to Your Museum

Hubert Robert - Projet d'aménagement de la Grande Galerie du Louvre (1796).
Hubert Robert – Projet d’aménagement de la Grande Galerie du Louvre (1796).

There’s a new trend we are seeing with museums. They are moving away from places of just observation and adding spaces of dialogue and creation.

This change requires a new type of space that is flexible enough for multiple arrangements, yet also provides the support necessary to create art.

Many institutions have areas for resident artists, but this space is designed to be open to the public. This maker space strengthens a museum visitor’s relationship with art through making.

What Was Old is New Again
The maker space concept is not new to museums, just forgotten. Before the 20th Century, museums like the Louvre and The Met were places of art making. The museum would grant artists permission to set up easels and copy works. By the mid-20th century, adults mostly learned about art through lectures and left art-making to children.

Museums and visitors are revisiting and evolving the concept through spaces like collection study, object study classroom, the teaching gallery and maker spaces. These spaces allow visitors extended study for selected works, areas to create, and an incentive to visit repeatedly.

Concept in Development
Recently we were asked to design a maker space within a university’s museum of art – a space that blurs the boundary between art, media and technology.

We recognized that as students increasingly grow up in maker space educational environments, extended learning spaces like museums should likewise evolve in a similar way. Therefore we immediately thought of a flexible classroom model we have developed over years of education design experience, and are adapting it for museum settings.

Essential Elements
Decided you want your museum to incorporate maker spaces? Here are some additional things for you to consider in the design:

• Padded tables to protect precious objects
• Stacking chairs and movable tables for multiple room configurations
• Large flat screens for sharing digital works and presentations
• Flexible power access integrated into tables
• Wall-mounted art rails
• Wall talkers
• General and directional lighting
• Storage (a flexible room always needs easy access to ample storage)
• Wi-Fi connectivity
• A wet studio (sinks can be a security risk to art pieces)
• Lockers
• Audio/video cabinets
• Open shelving

The “Cube” is Taking Shape

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Centerbrook is renovating while respecting our roots and old factory complex on the Falls River. After years of dispersion among our multiple buildings, we are creating a central town square to encourage teamwork and the serendipity of chance meetings to stir more innovation. The square double-height space will be our new metaphorical heart. Framed by sturdy chestnut columns, the old floor hums with the hydropower turbine underfoot, a reminder of our industrial roots and sustainable present.

This space –called the “cube” for obvious reasons –has over the years housed a ping pong table, our products library, a turret-shaped nine-sided conference space affectionately called the “obstruct-agon,” and our kitchen. Cleared of all that in its latest incarnation, it’ll be a creative playground to flexibly welcome 6 or 60 people for formal and spontaneous discussion and collaboration. Ringed with building libraries, it’ll be a place for sharing information and solving problems. A relocated kitchen, with donated fixtures and hand-crafted cabinets, sits modestly in a nook, with tea and coffee at hand to inspire sharp thinking.

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The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition

A team of seven designers from Centerbrook submitted an entry for an innovative, multidisciplinary museum of art and design in Helsinki, Finland. The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition was organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the city reserved a prominent waterfront site for the proposed museum at Eteläsatama, or South Harbor area, an urban space of great national and cultural significance that is close to the historic city center and immediately visible to visitors arriving by sea. The Foundation received 1,715 entries; ours is GH-6043427870. The jury selected six teams in October of 2014 to develop their designs and a winner was eventually announced in June.

The Centerbrook team consisted of Mark Simon, Jim Childress, Katie Roden, Justin Hedde, Caitlin Taylor, Elizabeth Hedde, and Aaron Emma

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