Master of Architecture student Peter Dumbadze earns 54Jeff prize for 'Grand Rapids Automaton'

Master of Architecture student Peter Dumbadze earns 54Jeff prize for ‘Grand Rapids Automaton’

Peter Dumbadze was awarded 3rd prize and student winner for his submission “Grand Rapids Automation.”

The open one-stage ideas competition challenged participants to create compelling proposals for the redesign of the 54 Jefferson, a former natural museum building that opened in 1940, but closed in 1994 due to deterioration and changing museum standards.

Dumbadze captured $2,000 for third place and $1,000 for being named student winner. Grand Rapids Automaton is described as follows:

Perched atop the old Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Automaton’s thirteen elevator shafts plug into each gallery below, mysteriously curating exhibitions throughout. From afar, the machine appears to be able to think on its own and conceive of new histories and ideas. But in all actuality, the Automaton is not a machine, but rather a device driven by museumgoers. Visitors are able to take an elevator up into this “machine” that serves as the museum’s archive, and there they are able to choose what items are to be displayed and how. In effect, visitors impart their own understanding of subjects but also create new relationships, possibly questioning ideas in history that may be considered sacred. Through these interpretations, new histories and ideas may be posited. In short, the Automaton is a machine built for constructing and understanding ideas.


A large selection of the competition entries, including all of the award winners, will be exhibited at 54 Jefferson during SiTE:LAB’s 2013 ArtPrize Exhibition, September18 through October 6, 2013. The jury: Reed Kroloff (Principal – jones|kroloff, Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum); Eva Franch i Gilabert (Executive Director and Chief Curator – Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC); Stephen Zacks (architecture and urbanism reporter, theorist, and cultural producer); and artist Alois Kronschlaeger. The competition was sponsored by Kendall College of Art And Design, The Wege Foundation, and Frey Foundation.

Visit the website for more information about the award and the winners.