Philadelphia firm to design event center at James A. Michener Museum
KieranTimberlake of Philadelphia has been selected by the James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown, Pa. to design the Edgar Putman Event Center, a 2,700 square-foot space for concerts, lectures and exhibition openings, as well as private parties and weddings. Plans for the $13.2 million expansion also include the renovation of the museum's Ann and Herman Silverman Pavilion into an education complex with two classrooms, a larger museum shop and café, and a dedicated children's gallery.
"Museum buildings should be elegant architectural statements and we know that KieranTimberlake will achieve that objective," said Bruce Katsiff, CEO of the museum. "We are confident that the new event center with its garden views, its sensitive design, its balance with the surrounding gardens will help the museum to better serve the community with both public and private events, while generating much-needed additional earned revenue."
KieranTimberlake, which is also designing the new US embassy in London, was selected from a shortlist of four architecture firms, who the museum declined to name.
The James A. Michener Art Museum focuses on the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County, Pa. region. The museum is named for Michener, the Pulitzer-Prize winning writer and supporter of the arts who proposed a regional art museum in the early 1960s.
The Edgar Putman Event Center will be a light-filled, all-glass structure with a solid roof and sliding doors on its east and west sides. Extending into the north side of the museum's Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden, the event center's sliding doors will open up so that larger programs and parties may filter into the outdoors. The event center will be accessible by indoor connection to the galleries and by a separate entrance behind the museum to allow multiple programs to function simultaneously. Integrated into and engaged with the sculpture garden and its 19th century stone walls, this event space will preserve views to and from the museum's galleries.
According to James Timberlake, "Making spaces for viewing art and celebrating life is a treasure for any architect. That we can do this within a historically rich building for a sophisticated institution, in the very region we call home makes it an extraordinary opportunity for KieranTimberlake, and we hope the results will be equally treasured by museum goers."
Construction is slated to begin in early January 2011 and the opening is expected by the end of 2011.
The massive stone walls and warden's house comprising the core of the museum today began as the Bucks County prison in 1884. After extensive renovation, the museum opened in September 1988. The museum site was expanded in 1993 and 1996 to add modern gallery space and state-of-the-art storage facilities, plus an outdoor sculpture garden completed in 2000.
The first phase of the museum’s most recent expansion was completed in September 2009 with the Hillier Architecture (now RMJM)-designed Sharon B. and Sydney F. Martin Wing, which includes the 5,500 square-foot Paton / Smith / Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries on the upper level that accommodate major nationally touring exhibitions and the permanent collection. The lower level features expanded art storage, preparation and handling facilities and provides for new curatorial offices. The first phase of the expansion also addressed climate control systems for the building.