Ikon 5 completes new museum and learning center in honour of a baseball legend
The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center needed to upgrade and expand its exhibition and support space for the museum, using the life lessons of Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees and baseball to teach and promote good sportsmanship, respect, integrity, social justice and the pursuit of excellence.
The museum also wished to transform its unwelcoming and defensive appearance. In addition to exhibiting baseball artefacts, the museum has a learning center in which classes are held for young adults in leadership, citizenship and personal and social responsibility. The challenge for this non-profit organisation was to expand space for exhibiting baseball’s finest memorabilia, to create space for group presentation, teaching and receptions and to transform the appearance of the exterior entrance to reflect the persona of Yogi Berra within a very modest budget, on a restrictive site.
The solution creates a single transparent gallery that serves as a flexible, multi-functioning exhibition area, collaborative teaching space and reception hall. This one-room gallery addition is a ‘vitrine’ for displaying baseball memorabilia and the museum and learning centers’ mission.
The overall architectural details are purposefully simple and unadorned to reflect the humility and simplicity of Yogi Berra. The structural columns that support the addition, for example, are composed of two structural ‘T’s back to back, which form a cruciform shape to minimise their appearance along the glazed perimeter. The addition has a visible presence and impact on the main access road that leads to the adjacent minor league ballpark that the museum shares its site with.
The transparent pavilion allows the exhibits, temporary and permanent, to be on display from those driving by along the access road. In this way, the museum has an active façade for advertising the treasures of baseball within and promoting the mission of the learning center. To personalise this minimalist glass box, Yogi Berra’s signature and his number ‘8’ are ceramic fritted onto the glass enclosure. The project includes an orientation gallery, exhibit gallery, permanent collection gallery, 150-seat broadcast theater, warming kitchen and offices.