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Studio Libeskind's new tapered museum will reveal human's evolution in Kenya's Rift Valley

Kenya Architecture News - May 16, 2019 - 01:50   6175 views

Studio Libeskind's new tapered museum will reveal human's evolution in Kenya's Rift Valley

Daniel Libeskind's firm Studio Libeskind has unveiled design for a new museum which will be built in Kenya's Rift Valley. Called Ngaren: The Museum of Humankind, the sculpture-like museum will tell the story of human evolution. 

Commissioned by Richard E. Leakey, an award-winning Kenyan paleoanthropologist, conservationist, and politician, the mission of Ngaren is to create a world- class museum that will stand as a monument to science, education, social and climate action and connect the African legacy to all humans worldwide. 

Headquartered in the Rift Valley, Kenya and New York, Ngaren will be working the best and brightest minds to realize this vision. Ngaren is designed as the culmination of Dr. Leakey’s life’s work - whose fossil discoveries have helped reveal how humans evolved. 

Studio Libeskind's new tapered museum will reveal human's evolution in Kenya's Rift Valley

The museum is perceived like a monument while approaching from the valley

The museum will be the first center of its kind to present research, discovery, and exploration of more than two million years of human history and the origins of our universe from evolution, biodiversity, overpopulation, to war, disease, and climate change.

The museum is comprised of two hand carved-like structures with tapered form, one of them is shorter and complements the tallest museum building. The third one is designed as a small domed building. 

From the highest point of the valley, visitors only perceive these structures just like a monument, but on the other side, they will meet with a big slit that takes the visitors inside. This will be the grand entrance of the museum. 

"The museum will be a place for discovery, wonder, and contemplation. Through the architecture and exhibitions, Ngaren will anchor all walks of life to Africa: the epicenter of human existence," said architect Daniel Libeskind. 

"I created a series of dramatic spaces within the museum that are architecturally dynamic and provocative, creating a unique context for the museum’s exhibitions that does not pacify artifacts, but enhances and enlivens them,” added Libeskind.

Studio Libeskind's new tapered museum will reveal human's evolution in Kenya's Rift Valley

View from the cliff while approaching the museum

"Ngaren is not just another museum, but a call to action," said Dr. Richard Leakey, Founder. "As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long extinct species, many of which thrived far longer that the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species," added Leakey.

Leakey commissioned Studio Libeskind to create an iconic design that reflects the mission and values of the museum. Sited on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Rift Valley—the cradle of humankind and where Leakey first discovered the most complete skeleton of early man, Turkana Boy. 

Studio Libeskind's new tapered museum will reveal human's evolution in Kenya's Rift Valley

General view of the museum

Libeskind takes cues from the forms of ancient hand axes that were the first tools of early man marking the beginnings of human ingenuity. The monolithic volumes rise like vertical stalactite set against the dramatic landscape of greater Nairobi in Loodariak. Through a series of interactive, cutting-edge exhibition spaces, Ngaren will unravel the mysteries of our beginnings.

The museum is scheduled to open in 2024 in Loodariak, Kenya. Studio Libeskind, working with local Kenyan architects, is the lead architect for the design and construction of the museum.

All images courtesy of Studio Libeskind © MAQE

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