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Self-defense Tactics





Article:Jolie Zoo     



“Territory” is often interpreted as 3D dimensions and properties of a building in the context of architecture. However, more possibilities exist other than that. Territory is reflected in the relationship between architecture and politics, architecture and life, architecture and commodity economy and incarnates in the form of architectural space. In these fields, architecture sets up and then guards the territory.

One of the most significant developments reshaping the intersection of art and architectural practice over the last three decades is the veritable explosion of new institutions and foundations that have emerged out of private collections of contemporary art. The sheer breadth and diversity of such institutions-ranging from experimental new museums to renovated industrial, commercial. Agricultural, or military buildings, and from long exhibition venues- grows with every year. The historical institution of the museum is undergoing a transformation that demands new forms of territorial, economic, and spatial analysis.

For modern art museums, main challenges lie on the following aspects: the change of viewing approaches when digital media gets involved. For example, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened the online reserve to let people download and explore works of art from the Museum’s encyclopedic collection; increasing collections and limited storage space; the long distance from warehouse to museum brings problems on shipping and storage; not all the art collections which curators buy can be shown to public due to the limited display chances. To investigate the condition of contemporary art museums, I went to Middle East to visit national museums and private institutions in the same time. For both of them where political and military situation seems intense, the prime challenge serves to be how to survive during conflicts or even wars and protect fragile art collections in the same time.

I proposed an intellect-controlled museum where collections are kept in the modular cylinder space which goes through the ground. The core is surrounded by a series of machines which moves in vertical direction. Robot arms on it can alter each component’s length and each joint’s direction to complete a series of precise movement.  The whole system is in charge of classification, transportation and alteration of collections.

Around the storage core is a modular steel structure where collections are placed in the display boxes which is controllable in both of size and location. The location of each collection varies while exhibition theme varies in meanwhile. The flexibility of display method exposes all the collection reserve on the façade and it changes all the time which brings a new method of viewing collections: You don’t need to go into the museum to see collections. Here, collection becomes the skin and the distance from the building brings forth different viewing experience.

Self-defense tactics is carried out in this no-curator museum which is only controlled by intellect system. The system changes into three statuses to adjust to surrounding environment: safe mode, partly defense mode and all-around security mode. The museum is composed by modular unit, so the museum owns the ability to grow for more storage and display space with the increasing amount of collection.

Jolie Zoo


Ms.AAD Student, Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design, 
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University.
Works selected for publication in GSAPP abstract.





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