A beacon of hope

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Siesjö, Cy
The hospital and the museum are not such distant cousins. The hospital attempts to heal the body; the museum attempts to heal the soul. - Josef P. Kleihues The museum projects (1989). Globally, the LGBTQ community lack spaces safe enough to collectively and publicly explore identity and build relationships. Historically, bars have often filled that gap, as they sometimes do today. In fact, it was at a bar that the LQBTQ liberation movement was started. But bars are problematic and non-inclusive in several ways, where age, alcohol consumption, appearance and ability can all define access to the community. With time, the Internet and applications have instead become the prevailing ways to connect. The internet is, however, Janus-faced: as a tool to explore one’s identity it can provide the best kind of support, or - it can strike with the most brutal hatred. Whichever the case, virtual meeting rooms or platforms are too often used as replacements for real-life socialising, yet they have not fully replicated or replaced the sense of community and belonging enabled by physical space. To challenge the status quo, this thesis explores the possibilities of an LGBTQ museum in Gothenburg, Sweden. Around the world, very few museums of the kind exist. It is a two-fold investigation looking into the prospective museum’s program and the visibility of the building: a program built around the needs and aspirations of the LGBTQ community; and, material research, focusing on how the glass block as a building material can be used to consciously manipulate light and manifest the museum’s importance. A museum is the pinnacle of cultural and historical recognition for a community. Groups that have been excluded by museums often feel a sense of invisible or erasure by society at large. The modern museum not only makes inclusion possible but has, as a model, gradually transformed over the years, transcending traditional program. They are now expected to be social spaces and active in community development. This investigation - a research-by-design project – uses the typology and location of the museum as a starting point. The free-standing museum building is situated in a historical urban context on the old ramparts; near the city moats. The openness of the facade is a conscious decision, making visible the stories of the LGBTQ community to visitors and passers-by alike. Transparency and light have been key factors and research drivers, as have the contrasts between conceal/reveal and night/day. The glass block as a building material rose to fame in the 1930s, the golden era of advertisement, due to its capability to illuminate entire buildings. The aim has been to create an intriguing, eye-catching and also inviting building, that appeals to people from within the community as well as to the public at large. Revealing during the day, alluring at night. A beacon of hope - Illuminating the night sky.
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