Fresh identity for neo-Georgian Westmoreland Museum of American Art as construction gets underway on Ennead-designed transformation project
Construction is underway on a striking expansion and renovation scheme in Pennsylvania. Designed by Ennead Architects, the transformation of Westmoreland Museum of American Art has been headed by Susan T. Rodriguez and Timothy Hartung and will see the neo-Georgian volume expanded with an L-shaped mass, cantilevering volume and sculpture garden.
Rodriguez explains: “From the outset, we have been inspired by the museum’s collections, the beauty and topography of the surrounding landscape, the creativity and vitality of the museum’s programs and the cultural and industrial history of southwestern Pennsylvania. The design seeks to reinforce those connections and history while at the same time anticipating an exciting future.”
Established in 1949 by Mary Marchand Woods, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art was opened to the public in 1959 after Marchand Woods bequeathed her entire estate in Greensburg, Pennsylvania so that the city could enjoy a collection of American Art. During the renovation and extension project, the complete collection has been kept together by moving the institution to a 30,000 sq ft furniture store between Greensburg and Latrobe. The new building is due to open to the public in early 2015.
The extension scheme involves a new dramatic cantilevered form which overhangs the sloping topography of the site to house both permanent and changing exhibition galleries. A new south-facing façade will frame the original building and create a linear porch along its length. The new cantilever form is linked to the existing building by a brick volume mirroring the west wing to restore symmetry to the north façade and floor-to-ceiling glass panels provide natural light and views to the outside.
Ennead worked in collaboration with LaQuatra Bonci, landscape designers who were inspired by the geometric lines of the building. The resulting landscape and sculpture garden brings the gallery space outside the walls of the Museum into an open-air venue in an effort to ‘forge stronger connections to the city of Greensburg’.