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Void Off Center

Contemporary Art Museum

Houston, TX

This project exploits the potentials of the off centered void. While geometric rigidity confines the conventional void, eccentric alignments in Void Off Center escape those defining boundaries. These eccentricities extend the influence of the void to open up new possibilities for both program and circulation.

Void Off Center uses a system of axial voids and lobes. Like an engine’s camshaft, this setup can be tuned to regulate the parts and movements of the larger whole. Embedded into the plate structure, this combination of voids and lobes catalyzes an agile spatial constellation. These potentials are tested in the design of a museum. Proposed as an expansion to Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, this project organizes each of the main museum functions (exhibition, public, service) around a particular void, giving each an identity.

Program in Void Off Center resists conforming to spatial definition. Voids animate programmatic boundaries as walls, floor plates, and material surfaces intersect or lap each other, creating multiple interactions. Circulation in Void Off Center follows an open trajectory. It loops in and out of orbit around the voids, creating a movement that is both episodic and unified. Both program and circulation are drawn together by the void at multiple scales and illuminated with an overall legibility.

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