African Design Magazine May 2016 - Page 39

International project Westmoreland Museum The new expansion and major renovation of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art designed by Susan T. Rodriguez/Ennead Architects has launched a new era for the Museum. The expansion is a striking counterpoint to the original neo-Georgian structure, marrying old and new. T his architecturally dynamic building underscores the importance of the arts and the Museum’s vital role in the Greensburg community and the region, furthering its mission to enrich a growing public through innovative and collaborative approaches to the Museum and its collection, preservation and presentation of American art. “We were inspired by the Museum’s conviction that design had the power to fulfill their aspirations for the future — both for the institution and the building,” states Ennead design partner Ms. Rodriguez. “We found their vision, collections and the site to be a compelling context for creating architecture that could strengthen and renew the identity and experience of The Westmoreland.” Ms. Rodriguez led Ennead design team with management partner Timothy Hartung. Judith O’Toole, the Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO remarks, “After years of planning and construction, we are so pleased that The New Westmoreland is the museum we have always hoped it could be. The transformation of the existing building, with its seamless integration of new and restored galleries and the addition of a dramatic east wing, all set in a lush landscape, is breathtaking.” The Museum’s transformation goes beyond the building itself to the site, where a new landscape and sculpture garden by LaQuatra Bonci Associates extends the Museum beyond the walls of the building to forge stronger connections to the city and the surrounding neighborhood. The design of the new landscape takes its cue from the geometry of the expansion. The expanded building frames the landscape while providing a more transparent backdrop linking interior and exterior and revealing the activity within. Before A simple palette of materials and textures – precast concrete, zinc, brick and glass – unifies the expansion with the existing building. At its northern end, and set into the topography of the site, the new brick wing mirrors the west wing to secure the symmetry of the original building while sponsoring a dramatic new zinc-clad cantilever to the south. Floorto-ceiling glass offers panoramic views at the angled terminus of the cantilever, which houses both a new temporary and permanent exhibition galleries. The reinforcement of views to the region and beyond will be heightened as visitors move throughout the building to strategic points within the public spaces and gallery sequence, serving to further contextualize the Museum’s permanent collection. Perpendicular to the new wing is a new south façade that visually africandesignmagazine.com 39