The space inside spaceships: A look at the OCT Design Museum, designed by Studio Pei-Zhu

The space inside spaceships: The OCT Design Museum designed by Studio Pei-Zhu

The space inside spaceships: The OCT Design Museum designed by Studio Pei-Zhu

The space inside spaceships: The OCT Design Museum designed by Studio Pei-Zhu

The space inside spaceships: The OCT Design Museum designed by Studio Pei-Zhu

The space inside spaceships: The OCT Design Museum designed by Studio Pei-Zhu

I can’t decide if this looks like a spaceship or not. For starters, “spaceship” is a vague term, and for most folks it probably conjures up an image of some goofy sci-fi movie prop from the ’60s. But there is some idea about the future buried in those science fiction flicks from over a fifty years ago. The tendency to want to call amorphously-shaped architecture projects “spaceships” likely comes from two different places.

First, a dearth of language to describe these projects as something other than blobs, and further, the challenge to contextualize these blobs. What I mean with the latter point is quite obvious: these projects don’t look like other buildings– they don’t make reference to architectural precedents and aren’t trying to match the building across the street. In a way, these projects are aliens. When we try to remember where we’ve seen these slick, metallic forms before we may recognize glimmers of past spaceships.

Let’s look specifically at this project: the OCT Design Museum designed by Studio Pei-Zuh. The mass of this museum is not the result of wayward spacecraft accidentally landing somewhere but the interaction between a building’s program and its surroundings. What’s most remarkable about the project, to me, is its interior. The swooping white walls are interrupted by small, triangular windows that are randomly placed like reflections off of water’s surface. So it makes sense to read that the architects of the museum have said that “the museum is a captured water droplet [...] venturing toward the future while reflecting the starlight of the past.”

Alex Dent

August 1, 2012 / By

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