Philadelphia Museum of Art, Core Project
Award of Merit
OWNER: Philadelphia Museum of Art
LEAD DESIGN FIRM: Gehry Partners LLP
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: LF Driscoll
CIVIL/STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
MEP ENGINEERS: Altieri Sebor Wieber LLC.
GEO-TECH ENGINEER: Haley & Aldrich
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Olin Partnership
SUBCONTRACTORS: Dan Lepore & Sons (Stonework); Berlin Steel (Steel and Ornamental Iron); PDM Constructors (Drywall, Carpentry and Millwork); Tracey Mechanical; Dougherty Electric; JPC Group Inc. (Excavation and Site Improvements); Madison Construction (Concrete Work)
Implementing the most delicate phase of the museum’s master plan was itself a work of art. The project team worked with historic materials and limited as-built documentation while safely performing heavy demolition and intricate restoration work within a fully operational building. Adding 35,828 sq ft of new gallery space required careful demolition of interior walls, the creation of second-floor vistas that opened up new views and the removal of blocks of limestone. All excavation and demolition work was conducted on second and third shifts to avoid disturbing museum patrons with dust and noise. A storage area was converted into a 640-ft-long walkway with vaulted ceilings as a dramatic architectural element that ties the entire building together. The ground-level auditorium beneath the museum’s Great Stair Hall was transformed into a three-story-high forum and now includes 23,000 sq ft of new galleries, a food court, a restaurant and retail space.
Because the museum was built using Kasota limestone from Minnesota, the project team sent a delegation to the same quarry to ensure new sections maintained the original color, pattern and features. Similarly, one of the museum’s historic windows was sent to its original manufacturer so that exact replicas could be fabricated for the expanded section. To complement the project’s attention to historical detail, the museum’s operational infrastructure was fast-forwarded into the future, using BIM and laser scanning technology to integrate sustainable, energy-saving environmental, electrical and fire protection systems.