The Lightcatcher at Whatcom Museum




Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington, has won Olson Kundig Architects the 2010 American Architecture Award.

The Lightcatcher at Whatcom Museum The project by Olson Kundig Architects for the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, in the state of Washington, is based on the idea of an inside-out museum, in which the building becomes just as active on the outside as on the inside. The intention is to invite passersby to get involved in art by making the works of art and the activities going on inside the museum visible on the outside too. The long translucent wall known as the “lightcatcher” captures sunlight by day and encloses a “Garden of the Ancients” within its winding curve. At night, it becomes a colourful, brightly lit attraction in the town centre. As the first museum in the state of Washington to be built on the basis of the requirements of LEED Silver certification, the building has become a tangible practical example for its exhibitions explaining use of ecological construction techniques to visitors.

by Agnese Bifulco

Design: Olson Kundig Architects 
Photographs: Tim Bies/Olson Kundig Architects
Location: Bellingham, WA - USA