Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date



Museums are a social sanctuary containing images of man's past, present and future. The task of collecting, conserving and exhibiting artifacts is the primary function of a museum. The artifacts will then be inherited by future generations so that they, too, may understand their place in the scheme of social evolution. The interpretation of the requirements of a physical plant for a museum and the creation of a unique design, which will enhance the life and experience of the visitor, is the subject of this thesis.

Museums depend upon good administration, adequate funding, well-engineered exhibit design and a sympathetic physical layout to provide a successful living environment for learning. Information has been collected by the author to study these factors, both on a general scale and in specific terms, for museums as a "type" operation. Research included: personal investigation of outstanding museums in the United States for a sound critical basis, literary study of the subject, surveys of staff and visitors. The author also interviewed persons knowledgeable about general learning environments as well as persons involved with museums as a specific building type. A synopsis of this research is included in the text to provide an understanding of the evolution of the physical design criteria known as the architectural program. The architectural program is the medium employed to transfer comprehensible needs into physical design. The design of the new physical plant for the Museum of Albuquerque is the base for development of specific needs within the architectural program; however, the principals involved could be applied to any educationally focused museum.

The architectural program is the mechanism by which architects must design all building types. This project can be read as a succinct example of that process which will provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the need for development of architectural programs for general application. The major work of this thesis has been to develop a proficient skill in architectural programming and interpretative design.

The actual design solution is the author's interpreta­tion of the architectural program with his own design insight. The physical design fulfills needs of both staff and public in a pleasing flexible environment. The building design for the Museum of Albuquerque reflects an understanding of the interaction between the building and its setting, staff with staff and materials, and the visitor with the final exhibition. Two levels of design constraints have been imposed on this project: First, the constraints of the actual project for the Museum of Albuquerque, i.e. funding, staff, storage, etc.; and secondly, the author's own policy and design constraints which result in a learning environment more valuable to the community. The conceptual design of this museum is not one which overwhelms the purpose of exhibition and education; however, the building itself would be a landmark. Spaces experienced in the developed movement patterns are exciting and inspiring as designed by the author.

An empathy for the surrounding historical area and the region have been combined with stimulating environments based on the architectural program. The result is a physical plant sympathetic to the goals and objectives of the Museum of Albuquerque. The ability and creativity demonstrated in the design solution are unique to the author. Thus, this thesis is a statement of his skills of interpretation and design.



Document Type


Degree Name


Second Degree


Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Robert Carl Cohlmeyer

Second Committee Member

Edith Ann Cherry

Third Committee Member


Included in

Architecture Commons