Contemporary Arts Museum in Roanoke: an Entrance to the City


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Virginia Tech


Roanoke, as a city, needs to redefine itself and to constantly respond to what new should come to the city. Society and culture become an important factors in design. The insertion into an existing fabric requires a careful dialogue between past, present and future. The proposed building sets in contrast to the existing structures in the neighborhood of the site, establishing its own response to time. Although contrasting the existing buildings the proposition is responsive to context in terms of scale and materials. The context is important to continue the harmony and rhythm of the urban fabric.

The site is located at one of the main entrances to downtown Roanoke and market square and hence the proposed building acts as a gateway to the future of the city. Due to its location the building will project the first image of the city. Therefore the proposed building should enhance and adapt to the social and cultural roots of the city. My thesis is a reaction to the existing conditions at the site for what I believe to be a lack of sensitivty to the context and the needs of the people of Roanoke. A museum is a public institution to provide insight into the attitudes and values of the local community. Through design the building is intended to symbolize the gateway to the future of the city.

The basic shape of the building is curved in response to the plan of the site while allowing for an urban plaza in front. Cantilevered masses which radiate from Market square are inserted into the primary building mass providing a connection to a larger context. The cantilevered masses(which hosts art galleries)hover over and project into the urban plaza providing Roanoke city with a public space downtown. Thus the two most important elements i) Cantilevered masses and ii) The Urban Plaza are means to weave the thesis project into the existing urban fabric of the Roanoke.



Mass, Roanoke, Museum, Art, Urban Plaza, Contemporary, Salem, Cantilevered, Entrance, City