Major addition and renovation to historic Bowdoin art museum
Completed in 2007, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art renovation and expansion addresses necessary code and accessibility upgrades, new program needs and incorporates state of the art security and climate control systems to meet current museum standards.
A dramatic glass, bronze and blackened steel pavilion on the south side of the original building provides a new entry to the expanded museum from the town of Brunswick to the West, and the Bowdoin College quad to the East. This 600 sq ft pavilion houses a new steel and stone stair and glass elevator, which lead down to visitor service spaces and a new lower level gallery entrance. The entire floor of the lower level galleries was dropped by more than four feet to provide adequate head clearance to the entry and to transform the lower-level spaces into well-proportioned galleries with high ceilings.
An addition on the west side of the historic structure houses seven new galleries, a dedicated seminar room, an upgraded loading facility and high capacity elevator, as well as a new public stair connecting upper and lower galleries. To support the teaching mission of the museum, the design of the 33,500 square foot project provided a highly efficient administrative office wing and high-density archival storage spaces.
The restoration included structural and waterproofing upgrades, new gallery lighting, signage and the insertion of state of the art mechanical systems within the historic building envelope. Walls were constructed inside the old brick building shell to create an air cavity between the plaster-coated brick and the newly constructed gallery partitions. This sandwiches artwork safely between layers of climate-controlled air and protects walls from freeze-thaw damage.
Summer heating and cooling loads are handled by an open loop geothermal well system, carbon dioxide and occupancy sensors are used to carefully limit intake air quantities and lighting levels based upon occupancy, and all storm water runoff is diverted into a multi-chamber infiltration bed located under the campus quad.