Strange Places That Don’t Exist [Museum of the Lewis and Clark Expedition]

A journey into the unknown and over a horizon from East to West.

The design for this museum was about capturing the danger, the mystery and the allure of unexplored places. I conceived of this building as an overgrown ruin on a sloping river bank. The entrance is uphill to the east. The exit is at river level to the west. Cast-in-place concrete site walls rise up out of the earth and are nested upon by a kind of primitive alien thing, something like a giant cicada shell or an overturned boat hull inside of which is a gallery housing relics from the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The drawings I made for this project (and other projects from this same period) were an exercise in mood: hand drafted, then digitized and inverted, and then touched up by hand again with chalk pastels. This was all happening at that rare transition time in architecture studio culture in the early 2000s when computers coexisted happily with older by-hand drawing techniques often resulting in absurdly complicated processes for image production. This didn’t make anyone’s life easier at the time, but it did result in some uniquely exuberant drawings layered thickly with atmosphere.

Models for this project were built with a scavenger’s sensibility out of used basswood, thread, and scrap cardboard (with original packaging tape still attached in some places).



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