Rabbit Island Museum

Rabbit Island Yarn 1

The Rabbit Island Museum is a space that will showcase the work of visiting artists at Rabbit Island Artist Residency, a program that addresses the fundamental and functional relationship between art and nature. The proposed design is a pure and sustainable museum concept, aligning the building with the core goals of the residency program and the land.

Rabbit Island GIF

The museum, composed of two intersecting barn shapes, is built using locally sourced wood. Scaled acording to the heights of trees on the island, each barn, inherently local and intentionally primitive, is less than 20ft in overall length. As one shifts downward to rest softly on the ground, the other hovers gently above. This basic action of lifting a portion of the structure leaves a mere footprint of 90ft2 to limit its disruption of the original ecosystem. The modest shape of the structure holds two exhibition spaces bisected by a lobby. One side houses a permanent collection of works by the artists-in-residency while the other contains a rotating series of temporary exhibitions.

Rabbit Island Museum 1

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Rabbit Island 2

On an isolated island in Lake Superior, just three miles east of Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan, Rabbit Island Museum showcases the work of visiting artists who address the fundamental and functional relationship between art and nature.

Rabbit Island, privately owned since 2010, has and will remain in its natural state through the development of a conservation easement covering the entirety of the 91 acre island. With help from a small group of collaborators, the residency facilitates a creative haven inhabited by a diverse breadth of artists, ranging from musicians to visual creators. The program, expanding in participants yearly, hopes to inspire artists by building a relationship with fundamental ways of life brought about by the island’s primitive inherence in contrast to modern residential or industrial landscapes. 

Rabbit Island 5

Print

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In keeping with the ideology of the island and the program’s founder, LoT focused on a simple and sustainable design. The museum, composed of two intersecting barn shapes, is built using locally sourced wood. Scaled acording to the heights of trees on the island, each barn, inherently local and intentionally primitive, is less than 20ft in overall length. As one shifts downward to rest softly on the ground, the other hovers gently above. This basic action of lifting a portion of the structure leaves a mere footprint of 90ft2 to limit its disruption of the original ecosystem. The modest shape of the structure holds two exhibition spaces bisected by a lobby. One side houses a permanent collection of works by the artists-in-residency while the other contains a rotating series of temporary exhibitions. 

Rabbit Island 4

Rabbit Island 3

With three ground-to-ceiling windows, views of natural landscape flood into the museum while providing light that filters through the tree canopy. By adding a 360 degree rotating entrance door, LoT further creates cohesion between the museum’s interior and exterior surroundings. As the door pivots around its center, the exhibitions extend seamlessly outward into the undisturbed environment from whence they were generated.

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Architect: LoT
Project Team: Leonidas Trampoukis (Partner in charge), Eleni Petaloti
Commissioner: Rabbit Island Artist Residency
Site Coverage: 90 ft²
Total built area: 190 ft²
Project Year: 2013