Framing the Tractor

Paige Haskett
Majdi Alkarute

ARCH 411 / Summer 2020

FACT 23: Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test & Power Museum Prof. Jeffrey L. Day, FAIA

The studio proposed extending the exhibition outside the future building and throughout East Campus using a grid of display frames. Inspired by Bernard Tschumi's folies at Parc de la Villette, our frames connect the museum's primary artifact - the tractor - to its context as machine within landscape and artifact within museum. The superimposed grid of 16.5 foot cubic frames prompts visitors to understand architectural space through the attitude of abstraction and manipulation that we have impressed upon rural landscapes since the Jeffersonian Grid and Homestead Act. As visitors approach the building, the frames become the framework for the museum's architecture. Taking advantage of the durability of farm machinery, the west facade is a massive transparent archive consisting of an aggregation of 30 frames, embedded with vertical circulation and viewing platforms. The remaining exhibition and supporting program sit as a two-story floating volume above the original Larsen building (repurposed as restoration shop), organized by the continuation of the frames. The common reliance on the grid connects landscape, architecture and artifact. It exhibits the bond between part and whole within and across the three. Most importantly, for curators, exhibition space becomes virtually unlimited. By embedding it within public space, the dissemination of inventory can happen at anytime, anywhere.