A catalyst of Akron’s rebirth, this interactive science museum and hall of fame, whose powerful and progressive image befits a national cultural institution, is itself an invention whose forms and materials singly and together resonate with the spirit of innovation.
Distinct volumes are arranged on an elevated landscaped plaza. A stainless steel arc expresses the infinity of creative thinking as applied to advanced technology and defines a wall carrying five tiers of exhibits. A four-story bar building contains education and support spaces.
The five-story volume of the Great Wall is a described by a vertical plane that rises from below the plaza and a “wing” whose exposed aluminum trusses and taut metallic skin arc to the plaza.
Akron’s new museum seeks to gather the history, spirt and act of invention into a single facility, and it succeeds by harnessing design, entertainment, and education to the vehicle of exploration . . . . the transition between exhibits and architecture is all but seamless, assisted by the flexibility of the building’s Neo-Constructivist esthetic which allows [the architect] to express programmatic and structural layering through sculptural assembly.
The tensile cable and steel Tower of Invention provides outdoor display areas on its frame and, by means of devices related to the work of inventors, communicates information both graphically and digitally to receptors mounted on its base.
The museum contains distinct and complementary exhibit types, each of which has a unique formal and spatial expression corresponding to its intended didactic or interactive experience and to its dual functions: to celebrate the United States Patent System, the contributions of significant inventors and the creative mind in general and to spark an interest in science. Historical and biographical exhibits document objects and authors of inventions; and interactive exhibits teach scientific principles.
Our focus is here is on ingenuity – on getting people to think inventively, understand how things work, and then, we hope do something with that...the building is part of that process.
Exhibition Halls, Public Plaza, Galleries, Offices, Laboratories, Classrooms, Resource Center, Gift Shop, Café