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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Ansel Adams Gallery in Washington, DC by Group Goetz Architects

March 27th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

First Design Firm Office in DC Awarded LEED Platinum Certification CI 2.0

The Ansel Adams Gallery at The Wilderness Society is the centerpiece of a renovation of the existing headquarters in Washington, DC.  The renovation included and update and reconfiguration of the office space, energy savings enhancements, new finishes, and the creation of a special gallery for the society’s treasured collection of Ansel Adams photographs.

Entrance (Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects)

  • Architect: Group Goetz Architects
  • Name of Project: Ansel Adams Gallery
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Size: 3,600 SF
  • Year Completed: May 2010
  • Photo Credit: Group Goetz Architects
  • Team: Lewis J. Goetz, FAIA, FIIDA, Principal-in-Charge, Aleksandar Jocic, Derick Williamson

Other Contributors

  • HBW Group: Rockville, MD
  • Structural Engineer: Brandes & Cassagnol Engineers – PC , Washington, DC
  • MEP Engineering: CS Consulting Engineers, Inc. – Rockville, MD
  • Lighting Design: Coventry Lighting – Chevy Chase, MD
  • Art Consultant (Exhibition Design) and Graphics: Cynthia Reed, LTD.

Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects

As a gift to the Wilderness Society, The Ansel Adams Foundation donated more than 75 of his most remarkable landscape photographs, broken into 12 different collections. Due to constraints of the current layout, however, many of these pieces remain in storage. The Architect’s design approach focused on designing a space worthy of serving as a permanent home for Adams’ work. The new design, consisting of simple architectural elements, creates a minimal backdrop for the artwork and learning experience.

Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects

Free-flowing compartments create space within space and symbolize the separation of one collection from another. A central wall serves as the “spine” of the gallery in which two contrasting settings exist on either side.

Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects

Looking out over the plaza, the main side of the spine makes use of natural light filtering in through screened windows. High ceilings give the area a sense of openness that parallels the rolling land found throughout many of Adams’ images. On the opposing side, a narrower, more intimate setting uses soft lighting to draw visitors toward the photographs and the intimacy of detailed landscapes.

Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects

The mechanical systems and lighting were carefully integrated into the space to appear transparent to the visitor, but delivered the systems’ functions in a way the enhanced the setting, showcased the photos, and protected the assets. The office portion of the project required surgical renovations within the existing space while remaining fully occupied. Renovations included updating lighting to meet current energy codes and sustainable practices.

Interior View (Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects)

Statement in Support of Citation for Excellence in Sustainable Design

Although the level of renovation did not warrant pursuit of full LEED Certification, because of the central mission of the Society and Ansel Adams mission to preserve the natural environment, both the client and Architect believed it was important to incorporate as many sustainable practices into the design and construction of the space as possible.   The following is a list of sustainable items within the gallery renovation.

  • Use of materials with recycled content including, gypsum board, ceiling tile, porcelain tile, sheet good flooring, rubber base, and counter tops.
  • Use of local materials within 500 miles
  • Use of Certified wood for reception desk and all doors
  • Reuse of materials from existing space prior to renovation including ductwork and doors
  • No VOC in paints and adhesives
  • Lighting control systems for energy efficiency and daylighting
  • Energy star appliances
  • Use of low water usage plumbing fixtures for restrooms and pantry
  • New energy efficient HVAC VAV system with multiple zones and tied to the building energy management system
  • Use of concrete flooring provided an allergen and dust minimization, recycled materials, and eliminated the need for manufactured floor covering.
  • Commissioning of systems
  • Recycled demolition materials


Interior View (Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects)

Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects

Images Courtesy Group Goetz Architects

Axonometric with Shading


Contact Group Goetz Architects

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Category: Art Gallery

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