Architectura Design: Higher Ground
This project questions the benign image of industry that the Eli Whitney Museum presents its students and visitors. The project insists that we must first come to terms with industry and war, northern textiles and southern slaves, guns and violence. It is within the framework of these historical-economic binaries that the project takes shape.
The design follows a simple logic of the upper and the lower, the clear and the obscure, and the familiar and the underrepresented. Three simple, stark, rectangular structures, which recall ubiquitous New England gable roof homes, are a foil for an underground space that follows a beguiling logic. The three structures present a concerted blankness to the approaching visitor. Yet upon closer inspection, the visitor is drawn around the buildings, which have multiple points of entry. The project, which appears solid and blank, is in fact perforated, split, cut and open to the river and sky. Below, the visitor finds a labyrinthine underworld.