National Museum of Writing

Unfolding the History of Writing

Language is the ability to form complex and powerful wholes through dynamic, fluctuating relationships of fragments. In isolation, fragments are static, but when multiplied and rearranged, new, elevated meaning arises that was not present in the individual pieces alone. The Rosetta Stone is a fragment of a long lost whole that has become vital to our understanding of the origin and evolution of our languages today. Languages are dynamic in nature, providing humans with the tools for communication, socialization, and evolutionary advancement.

Our project looks to the fragment as a conceptual starting point. Each houses similar program, which are arranged to optimize relationship adjacencies. The elevation of the main exhibition fragment and its’ relation to the supporting programmatic fragments, activates the main corner as a public atrium space. The atrium space directly engages the surrounding city and creates a vital space for socialization, fostering chance encounter to highlight the purpose of language. Digital technology, as a vehicle for communication, has resulted in an ether-like existence of fleeting graphic/image replacements for textual language (i.e. emojis, stickers, Snapchat). Our project instead looks back towards a time when language held more permanence. A key example of this permanence is the Rosetta Stone, which allowed modern-day linguists to decipher several ancient languages. This approach is remarkably similar to architecture as it is the registering of meaning into material and its’ permanence for future generations to experience.