The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts announced today that it has selected US firm Ennead Architects to design its $200m, 175,000 sq ft expansion. Ennead will replace Rick Mather Architects of London which completed the first phase of the project. After Mather’s untimely death this spring, the museum decided not to move forward with the UK practice as Mather himself had been intensely involved in the project and amid concerns for the firm’s size, which has 15 architects on staff.
With 125 architects on its staff and the successful completion of such highly lauded cultural projects as the recent expansion and renovation of the Yale University Art Gallery in nearby Connecticut, the Natural History Museum in Utah, and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, Ennead comes to the project with the resume PEM was looking for.
“Ennead Architects impressed us with their creative dexterity, in-depth understanding of our institution and thoughtful design solutions for the museum’s complex architectural program. We feel confident they will create a building that will serve the museum well into the future”, said Dan Monroe, PEM’s Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO.
The Mather-led first phase of the project, which included master planning and renovation of the Dodge wing, will reopen in October with a new expanded Art and Nature Center. Ennead’s charge will be the design of 75,000 sq ft of new gallery space, public program and education spaces, a restaurant and essential improvements to the museum’s collection, conservations and exhibition processing areas. Groundbreaking for the new wing is to commence in 2015 with the opening slated for 2019.
“PEM’s expansion presents an exciting design challenge and an opportunity to reimagine one of the oldest and fastest-growing museums in the country,” said Ennead design partner Richard Olcott. “We are committed to creating a design that functionally integrates the museum’s existing campus with a bold new vision that enhances the museum both aesthetically and experientially.”