Post-COVID, How Will Architects Design Museums and Public Spaces?

Four globally recognized architects and three major national museum directors will convene a conversation, on Zoom, on June 4 at 7pm.

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Steve Dumez, Principal, EskewDumezRipple; Paul Schulhof, Principal, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; Maitland Jones, Principal, Deborah Berke Partners; Nick Koster, Director, Snøhetta. Photos via Bruce Museum.

How will the COVID-19 global pandemic change the way that architects design or modify public spaces — from classrooms to auditoriums, from public restrooms to restaurants, from hallways to elevators? How will the need for social distancing impact the way that public spaces are used in a post-lockdown environment? Think about theaters and concert halls and houses of worship and sports arenas, too. Think of everywhere that we gather in public — what is to become of all those places, all those spaces?

An all-star panel of four world-class architects and three executive directors of major museums and arts institutions will tackle these and other questions in a Zoom seminar, Architecture 20/20: New Visions for Public Spaces in the Age of COVID-19, slated for Thursday, June 4, 7-8pm.

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The panel is presented by Greenwich, CT-based Bruce Museum as part of a series of high-level public programs called Bruce Presents: Thought Leaders in Art and Science.

Providing insight in the opening segment are four distinguished architects whose practices focus on the design of public buildings and spaces:

Three highly respected museum directors expand the discussion in the second segment:

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“The COVID-19 crisis makes urgent the need for new thinking about how we gather in our public spaces. It’s certain to lead to innovative, even surprising, ideas for how we can create new spaces, and for how we better use spaces that already exist,” said Wolterstorff in a statement. “Museums are places where we come together, in real space, to engage in culture and discussion. Bringing people together is essential if a museum is to create a sense of community. These ideas of gathering and of community are deeply embedded in the designs for the New Bruce, and that’s why this topic is so important to me right now. The Bruce Museum is delighted to present this timely discussion.”

The architects open the Zoom seminar at 7pm; the museum directors join at 7:45pm. The program will conclude with a Q-and-A session moderated by Leonard Jacobs, producer of Bruce Presents.

Here’s a neat video on the panel:

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“Earlier this year, we aimed to convene a group of architects to imagine the 2020s — new trends in design and technology,” said Jacobs in a statement. “With the disruption caused by COVID-19, now we’re making a powerful pivot, one that calls for insight from museum directors on the front lines of this rapid change: Will the crisis revolutionize the design, form and function of public space — and how?”

Participation is $25 for Bruce Museum members, $35 non-members. To reserve a place, visit brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376; a link to join the online conversation will be sent to registered attendees prior to the program. (Jacobs has a limited number of comp places for this event — email him at publisher@clydefitch.com for any requests.)

Conceived by Suzanne Lio, Managing Director of the Bruce Museum, and launched in 2019, Bruce Presents has received enthusiastic reviews for its topical programming. Presentations on art have featured philanthropist/collector Jennifer Stockman, filmmaker Olympia Stone, and art historian/author Dr. Ágnes Berecz. Programs on science have featured an exclusive live Skype with Antarctica researcher Dr. Kim Bernard and a provocative dialogue between artist/activist Alexis Rockman and David Abel, an award-winning environmental reporter at The Boston Globe.

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