This new museum is located across Fourth Street from the State Library, built in 1958. Fourth Street serves as both the primary and symbolic entrance onto the Capitol Grounds, connecting the Capitol to the City of Baton Rouge. Its axis terminates at the Capitol Gardens, constructed in 1932 along with Capitol Tower.
The siting and massing of the new museum establishes biaxial symmetry with the State Library across Fourth Street while acknowledging its privileged location adjacent to the Gardens and Tower. The museum can be approached from either of these directions, and visitors converge at a large, covered terrace – an overscaled “porch” – that opens to the north to provide framed views of the Capitol. Entry to the museum is from this terrace, and a multi-purpose room opens directly onto this outdoor gathering space for expanded events.
The envelope of the building is composed of cast-in-place concrete, glass, and metal wall panels. The building facades respond to the adjacent context and vary from highly articulated to the east (where the site abuts an adjacent residential neighborhood) to a more restrained composition on the remaining facades within the park. The metal wall panels on the west façade transition from solid to perforated at the entry terrace, where the simple cubic volume gestures toward the Capitol Tower. The perforated screen wall acts as a scrim to filter daylight into the space and changes in character from a shimmering, silvery object by day to a translucent, glowing presence at night.
Location: 660 North 4th Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, U.S.A
Photographer: Timothy Hursley