Emily Yen's winning design for the Museum of Science Fiction preview museum.
Museum of Science Fiction Emily Yen's winning design for the Museum of Science Fiction preview museum.

The Washington, D.C., tourism circuit could be adding one more stop in 2017: the Museum of Science Fiction. But before that happens, the organization is developing a miniature version, a 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot preview museum that's designed to be dismantled and moved to other cities.

Last week, the Museum of Science Fiction announced the winning design for its preview museum. Rhode Island School of Design graduate student Emily Yen's winning entry, "Schrödinger's Box," beat out 130 submissions in the international design competition announced in May.

"My design was inspired by the experience of reading science fiction and fantasy—the act of transporting ourselves from this world to a world created by the imagination of others," Yen says in an email. "I saw the cube geometry in two ways: one as a semi-transparent box that elicits curiosity and wonder, compelling people to leave the urban fabric of D.C. and transporting into worlds as exhibited throughout the galleries. The second aspect of the geometry allowed the design to be infinitely scaled: cube as object, cube as architecture."

Museum of Science Fiction

The design competition was open to anyone and judged anonymously. Because Yen is not a licensed architect, the museum will ultimately hire an architect for the project, according to Jerry Vanek, an associate at Perkins Eastman who is volunteering as the museum's lead architect and also advised the design competition.

"This is very early on in a schematic phase, even pre-schematic," Vanek says.

The museum is considering two sites for the preview museum: one in Virginia's Pentagon City, and another undisclosed site in Washington. Vanek says the museum will break ground on the preview museum project in about six months, and open by late 2015.

The museum is also currently accepting submissions for a preview museum exhibition design competition. The winners of that competition will be announced in mid-November.

Jury for the Museum of Science Fiction Preview Museum design competition:

  • David Bell, Bell Architects president
  • Luca Covi, business development manager of Grunley Construction Co. and Museum of Science Fiction volunteer
  • Mark Edward, Hertzbach & Co. partner and chair of Museum of Science Fiction advisory board
  • David Greenbaum, FAIA, SmithGroupJJR vice president
  • Hany Hassan, FAIA, partner at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
  • Richard Hayes, AIA, American Institute of Architects knowledge resources director
  • Louis Paul Miller, Character creative director and Museum of Science Fiction creative director
  • Susan Piedmont-Palladino, architecture professor at Virginia Tech's Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center
  • Mason Peck, Cornell University associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and Museum of Science Fiction advisory board member
  • Regan Sammul, curator of the Museum of Science Fiction
  • Timo Lorenzen-Schmidt, AIA, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • Suman Sorg, FAIA, founder of Sorg Architects
  • Jerry Vanek, Perkins Eastman associate and Museum of Science Fiction lead architect
  • Greg Viggiano, Museum of Science Fiction executive director
  • Michael Winstanley, AIA, Michael Winstanley Architects & Planners principal

*Correction: The Museum of Science Fiction will not be the first science fiction museum in the world, as an earlier version of this article stated.