Laredo Water Museum

Finalist 2018

The Laredo Water Museum, situated on the banks of The Rio Grande, ushers visitors through a metaphorical journey down the Rio Grande River to answer the deceptively simple question: Where does our water come from?

CORE Design Studio establishes a visceral connection between the visitor and the physical space by weaving a multi-sensory, dark and cool aquatic theme throughout the museum in contrast to the stark, intense heat of the Laredo sun. These tactile, auditory and visual devices in combination with interactive kiosks provide an immersive experience intended to facilitate environmental learning and bring heightened urgency to conservation efforts within the Rio Grande Watershed and globally.

Large-scale maps on the floors and walls contextualize a computer interactive of a paddler’s journey beginning in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Visitors follow the river South to the Gulf of Mexico while large-scale touch screens highlight indigenous and invasive species impacting the Rio Grande’s ecology.

A 30-foot-long tunnel utilizes motion activated video displays, ambient sound and LEDs to bring the intricacies of water purification processes to life. An interactive scale performs a simulated body scan and informs visitors of the amount of water in their bodies. A touchscreen interactive calculator determines personal daily water usage based on user input with Arduino controllers illuminating a calculator wall of gallon water jugs. Rear-illuminated user-prompted projections further an ethereal underwater aesthetic, full-scale home fixtures and appliances demonstrate common domestic water usage alongside water conservation tips to use at home.

Through immersive and interactive exhibits, The Laredo Water Museum underscores the urgent need for preserving one of earth’s most precious and endangered resources—our limited supply of clean water—while highlighting the responsibility nations, local governments, businesses and individuals share in protecting the bi-national river on which the Laredo Water Museum so proudly perches.

Design Firms: 

Core Design Studio

Client: 

City of Laredo

Project Area: 

10,000 sq ft

Open Date: 

May 2017

Project Budget: 

$800,000

Photo Credits: 

Patrick Wong / AtelierWong, CORE Design Studio (photography)

Design Team: 

Alan Krathaus (lead/designer, fabricator); Fiona McGettigan (creative director, designer); Lisa Garrett (exhibit designer); Karim Ghonima (media specialist); Andres Garcia, Sebastian Civarolo (designers); Lara Purser (writer)

Consultants: 

Metaform Studio

Fabricators: 

Johnny Duran, Ryan James

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