Allied Works Architecture wing their way to success with the renovation and extension of the University of Michigan Museum of Art
The recent recipient of the 2011 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award for Architecture at a New Orleans convention, the University of Michigan, Museum of Art is a mammoth modernisation and expansion project completed by Allied Works Architecture. The climax of a 50 year struggle to match the University’s impressive collection of historic treasures with an admirable architectural home, the finished product is a sensitive blend of classic and contemporary forms.
After months of rigorous planning and consultation sessions with the University students, faculty, Ann Arbor representatives, and members of the general public, Allied Works Architecture began to incorporate elements of the collected feedback into their final plans. Many students wished to walk through the finished complex during the winter months and use the inspirational space as an area to study therefore portions of the Museum have been redeveloped to introduce places of relaxation with the functionality to work.
The 40,362 sq ft Alumni Hall was completely modernised and an additional 53,452 sq ft wing was added to enable the institution to display more of its collection. Until this point, the University had only been able to exhibit 5% of its holdings. This requirement for more space presented the opportunity to engage the University of Michigan in new relationships with the local community, its new public face extending an invitation to explore and educate.
Allied Works Architecture clarifies: “As a teaching Museum with broad, near universal collections, the institution serves as a forum for the various academic disciplines of the University as well as a cultural portal for the community of Ann Arbor. While the existing building provides an atmosphere of seclusion, the new architecture achieves an immediacy with the surrounding campus - inviting and even provoking engagement with the building and its programmes.”
Three 40ft concrete and limestone cantilevered walls comprise the new wing, facing out towards a new entry court to the south, a cloistered sculpture court to the east and the heart of the campus to the north. Alternating strands of steel and glass filter shafts of pure sunlight into the interior galleries and circulation spaces, framing the views to the picturesque campus outside.