Wellington Earthquake Museum
A design proposal for an Earthquake Museum in Wellington, New Zealand, to both commemorate and educate the subject and victims of the natural disaster.
Earthquakes are an inevitable process of energy release, constantly re-forming the fragile surface we live on. These sudden moments in time help form our history through modification, destruction and devastation. There are usually three stages resulting from the impact of an earthquake, which are symbolically represented through the three seismically separated buildings (allowing the building to “rupture” and “subduct”). The first stage is the initial event, expressing a sense of shock and uneasiness through entering the building. The second building houses the permanent exhibitions and portrays the subsequent realisation of the devastation from the major events, while the third building leads onto recovery and regeneration of the destruction caused by these events.
The devastation of earthquakes is usually caused by failure of human interventions. The structure of the building thereby has looked to nature for influence, such as the Euplectella aspergillum (cylindrical sponge) which generates and organises a complex network of spicules that support its structure. The language of the building is generated by uniting the harsh earthquake-influenced, angled structural frames with an organic twist inspired by how nature scripts itself to produce a customised structure in order to survive.