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Shelburne Museum, Center for Art and Education in Vermont by Ann Beha Architects
November 7th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Ann Beha Architects
Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont is one of North America’s finest, most diverse and unconventional museums of art, design and Americana. Over 150,000 works are exhibited in a remarkable setting of 39 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic and were relocated to the Museum grounds.
Ann Beha Architects’ design for Shelburne’s new center for art and education establishes a striking presence along Vermont’s Route 7. Adding to the resources at the Museum’s entry, this contemporary new building showcases collections and serves new educational initiatives. With its companions—the entry / shop building and historic round barn—the ensemble frames a gateway to the Museum experience.
Set on the site’s open and natural landscape, this building offers long vistas of the Museum campus against a backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains. The new center plays a critical role in promoting audience engagement, interpretation, special exhibition and year-round programming.
The design is an extended volume of two interlocking elements—the exhibition galleries at one end and the classroom and auditorium at the other—joined by a welcoming light-filled lobby that serves as a reception space and additional gallery. “This building will play many roles. It will showcase Shelburne’s incredible collections of American art and design while also supporting visiting special exhibitions. It will welcome expanded audiences, provide new programming and educational opportunities, and will launch the visitor journey to the rest of the Museum campus. The delight of the project has been working with the Museum trustees and staff to create a 21st century design dialogue, responding to the character and heritage of Shelburne’s many historic structures,” says Thomas M. Hotaling AIA, ABA’s Principal in Charge.
The building is organized on two levels, with a broad connecting stair. A strong horizontal façade is oriented towards Route 7 and the outer campus edge, while its inner campus face offers a long porch with views of the Adirondacks and the Ticonderoga, the Museum’s historic side wheel steamer. On the main floor, the upper galleries are lit from lay-lights and clerestories. A 130-seat, flat-floored auditorium will be used for gatherings and programs, opening onto the porch. The lower galleries and an art studio / classroom open to an outdoor activities terrace.
This building is designed to the standards of LEED certification, which inspired the selection of natural materials and sustainable strategies. Its exterior rests on a base of native Vermont granite, and its cedar-clad façade frames long expanses of thermally treated glass, with copper cornice detailing above. The interior circulation and gathering areas are wood-paneled, with local stone used as organizing walls and flooring.
This project is part of the Museum’s $14M capital campaign. Construction is tentatively planned to start next year with the center opening in 2013.
Contact Ann Beha Architects