CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Museum

Atlanta, GA

2009

The design for the new CCHR embraces two seemingly contradictory qualities: solemnity and exuberance. On approach from the south, the dominant feature is an artificial horizon line—a line that can be read ambiguously as a fracture or a wound. As one nears the building, the horizon line unfolds into a dramatic open-air 24/7 public space under a floating roof/cloud. This is the “Common Ground,” a horizontal slice through the building characterized by an electronic mural that displays real-time struggles for freedom and justice across the globe. The horizontal plane of the “Common Ground” defines the organizational strategy of the CCHR. The spatial sequence starts in the “present,” at the Common Ground, the extension of the civic space of the park. Entry into CCHR programmed spaces is through a glass-enclosed lobby zone at the north edge of the building. Descent from the Common Ground leads to the “past” with its light and sound-controlled interpretive galleries. The ascent leads to the “future” with its temporary exhibition space, meeting spaces, auditorium, and café. Three specially designed mobile galleries that dock at Ivan Allen Jr Blvd enrich the gallery experience by breaking away from the CCHR to transport visitors into the cradle of the American civil rights movement.

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