Cayton Children's Museum

Designed by: OFFICEUNTITLED
For client: ShareWell Floor area: 1950.96 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for: Cultural Space of the Year

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© Paul Vu

Theater Room

About the Project

Bringing play indoors, the Cayton Children’s Museum was designed as a series of unexpected spaces that inspire kids to learn about and engage in their community. The 20,095 SF museum adaptively reuses part of the upper floor of Santa Monica Place, a retail center originally designed by Frank Gehry, by transforming a former artisanal food hall into the home of a Museum dedicated to the imagination and wonderment of being a kid.

Imagined as an inclusive space for free and safe discovery, the museum’s non-linear design relies on a network of freestanding, tactile objects purposefully sited to frame portions of the five exhibit neighborhoods while not revealing the entirety of the museum’s total offerings at once. The free plan approach affords each visitor the opportunity to chart their own “Path of Awesome” through the more than 30 exhibits focused on helping kids play their way to a better world.

What’s unique about it

What is a Children’s Museum?

Innovation, like the formation of diamonds, happens because of sheer force. Professions are constantly borrowing from each other to be innovative (i.e. fashion, aerospace) because sometimes solutions work more effectively when they’re removed from their original context. What is a children’s museum is a question we kept asking over-and-over-and-over. In fact, it means nothing. Rather than cross pollinate a few ideas, we took a completely different approach; to radically reshuffle the typical rules of design (and project type) and create something undeniably new.

Children think differently. In fact, they have zero rules or zero universal preconceptions. That’s what a children’s museum should be. It should be a place where there’s no gravity and no rules, but where everything is active play, interaction and immersive but that also teaches community, social skills and love.

This is what architecture should be. Our hope is that like the doors of perception, the innovation here is not just for show, but because of a deep love of design, experience, space and impart that love and passion into the minds of everyone who visits (parents included).

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© Paul Vu

Art Rooms, entry to office space and Confetti Tube exhibit

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© Paul Vu

Helicopter and My Community Exhibit

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© Paul Vu

Mirror Tunnel Exhibit

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© Paul Vu

Entry to Offices

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© Paul Vu

Children playing at Water Table Exhibit

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© Paul Vu

Children playing in “Launch Your” exhibit zone for 0-2 yrs old

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© Paul Vu

Children climbing up the “zipper” entry to the Net Climber and running past Armadillo

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© Paul Vu

Child jumping in Aqua Rescue ball pit with Net Climber above

Credits:
ShareWell

OFFICEUNTITLED

Walter P. Moore


Altitude Design Office

S2 Associates Inc.

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