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The Hollywood War Museum ™

Coming from a campus where orange brick is the norm and the only different and exciting building material is the concrete in the A+A building, seeing the contrasting materials, styles, and atmospheres of different spaces throughout London has really been on my mind.

For instance, in our class meeting we briefly talked about how the transition from the main lobby of the Imperial War Museum to the Holocaust exhibit was extremely jarring but also speaks a lot to the function of the spaces.

Whether or not you agree with the narratives, it’s hard to argue that these spaces weren’t successful. The gung-ho atmosphere of the main lobby that seams like the poster of the next summer action blockbuster reveals the dark, ominous dungeon of an exhibit only after you’ve peeked between the elevators on the 3rd floor, in the back of the main atrium. The main lobby of the building is really well lit by skylight, and the only dimming comes from clouds that find their way overhead, casting shadows of rockets, planes and jets jnto the ground below you. Human torpedoes, Hummers and other vehicles of warfare compete for attention as they seem to be caught mid-flight, jumping into the atrium. When you stumble into the Holocaust exhibit, you can’t see what is behind the reflective glass door, the only indication of what lies ahead is a small sign and a museum worker that remind you not to take photos. The exhibit itself feels very sacred, yet misplaced because of the huge contrast with the space just outside in the atrium.