Gallery: Former Prison in Norristown, Pennsylvania Reimagined as Green ...

 

Art Meadow has designed a green-roofed Museum of Industry for the site of the former Norristown County Prison in Pennsylvania. For 150 years the County Prison has remained an impermeable object in the suburban fabric in Norristown, PA, but the proposed Norristown Museum of Industry powerfully reimagines how this site can be transformed into an underground educational center, illuminated by rooftop light wells and featuring an elevated green park for the local community. Art Meadow’s design was an entry in the Stewardson Memorial Competition, and was described by the jurors as “subtle and moving.”

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At present the former Norristown County Prison site is home to a municipal storage facility and a sloped parking lot. The thoughtful adaptive reuse project would create an underground museum for peaceful contemplation and a rooftop park for community use. Art Meadow founder Matthew Hoffman described that

“[h]istorically, the monolithic wall which surrounds the prison separated the prisoners from society and vice-versa. To the prisoners, life beyond the walls was represented through sound, memories, and inference. To the inhabitants of Norristown, the walls of the prison signify the same thing and are experienced in similar ways. Taking this separation as a given, the design aims to maintain this division between program (previously a prison, now an Industrial Museum) and park (freedom) by burying the building beneath the park.”

While the conceptual (and literal) divisions of the structure are creatively reinterpreted, the design would also reuse the original materials of the prison. Art Meadow proposes that the walls which once surrounded the prison would be recycled into a concrete plinth to separate the park from the museum. Where rooftop light wells help to provide dramatic natural daylighting for the underground museum, thermal mass from the green rood would regulate the temperature of the museum itself.

+ Art Meadow

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1 Comment

  1. Patience Thereingood February 24, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I would like to support this project. The building structure is fabulous and inviting.

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