Designing the Museum: Ben Marshall

It’s Research Week at Oklahoma State — an appropriate frame for showcasing another design from the School of Architecture for the Postal Plaza Museum.

Ben Marshall, sketch for the Postal Plaza Museum, 2010.

Ben Marshall is a student in the School of Architecture at Oklahoma State University. Last fall, he participated in a class project called “Ideas for the New OSU Art Museum,” in which students conceptualized and designed renovations for the interior and exterior of the Postal Plaza. Under the guidance of Professors Jeanne Homer and Awilda Rodriguez, students used available drawings of the Postal Plaza to create designs that responded to potential museum needs, from the pragmatic to the creative. Ben’s design emphasizes interactivity between the museum collection and individual visitors as well as among the visitors themselves. His description follows:

Ben Marshall, Exploded view of the Postal Plaza Museum interior, 2010.

In developing a design for the OSU Art Museum, this project seemed to consist of two distinguishing purposes; to serve as an advocate for the Arts, and a connection for the University and the City of Stillwater.

Ben Marshall, first floor plan for the Postal Plaza Museum, 2010.

This design accomplishes those goals by creating opportunities for interaction, which encourages both education and community enthusiasm. Free floor plans, open spaces, unrestricted visibility, and large gathering areas promote conversation on the arts. Flexible areas on the lower floor draw students to study at the museum, as well as welcome special museum functions.

Ben Marshall, plan for basement level, Postal Plaza Museum, 2010.

The open exhibit galleries encourage interaction on a smaller level in a comfortable and calmly lit space. In order to create that relaxed environment, a custom skylight and lighting system replaces the existing roof of the gallery.  The system opens up to allow the soft northern light into the building, and then diffuses it evenly through a translucent ceiling. Light is brought down into the basement level through a large open staircase and translucent glass flooring at the base of all the display walls. These lighting techniques create gallery spaces that are naturally and uniformly lit, complementing and showcasing the artwork within.

Ben Marshall, rendering of a gallery in the Postal Plaza Museum, 2010.

Conducive for both OSU and the Stillwater Community, this OSU Art Museum design provides the potential for people to be brought together in an environment that introduces, stimulates, and promotes the Arts.

Ben Marshall, section view of the Postal Plaza Museum, 2010.

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About osucurator

Louise Siddons is Associate Professor of Art History at Oklahoma State University and founding curator of the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. She maintains this blog as a record of her students' work with the Museum's permanent collection as well as more generally with topics related to museum studies.
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