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A National Museum of Slavery in Richmond, Virginia

Part 2 Project 2021
Faith Primozic
University of Notre Dame | USA
This counterproposal for a National Museum of Slavery provides an opportunity to bring light to a vital narrative. While architecture can be used as a narrative in and of itself, this design uses the architecture as a backdrop for the narrative of those who experienced slavery told through the excavation site of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail, various artifacts found there, and oral testimonies. This backdrop is created using three primary elements: brick, water, and light.

As the site itself is located in a flood zone, flooding the site’s negative space not only suits this condition but also creates a reflective, contemplative atmosphere. Sometimes flowing, sometimes still, the water defines each space and creates visual continuity. Brick is a natural choice of building material as it compliments a historic brick building that the city wishes to preserve on the site and serves as a neutral but expressive backdrop.

Finally, light is used to guide a visitor through each of the museum’s spaces and to represent the illumination of truth. Slicing through the heavy brick walls, the intentional use of light highlights the most important purpose of this museum: acknowledging the truth and gravity of slavery and its continuing impact on Americans today.

Faith Primozic


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