Connecticut Museum Architects and Museum Architectural Designers | Connecticut Museum Design Specialists

Museum architecture and architectural design has been of increasing importance over the centuries, especially more recently. The challenge for museum architectural design is the differing purposes of the building needs. The museum collection must be preserved, but it also needs to be made accessible to the public. Climate control may be very important for the objects in the collection.

As a firm we have not aspired to participate in the high profile competitions that have so dominated the architect selection process for museum work. We see a fundamental contradiction and disconnect between presenting, with only minimal program information, an external, show stopping image of a building to be, and meeting the fundamental internal needs of a museum to display art and serve its visitors.

Our approach to Museum Architectural Design work is best exemplified by the services we have provided to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art over three decades. The Wadsworth Atheneum, founded in 1842, was the first public museum founded in the United States and is a nationally recognized for its exceptional collections. The museum is comprised of 5 buildings situated around a court in the heart of downtown Hartford. Each building is distinctive of an architectural period: the 19th century Gothic Revival Wadsworth Building, the medieval mid-19th century Colt Memorial, the early 20th century Beaux Art Morgan Building, the pioneering 1934 Early Modern Avery Memorial, and the Brutalist style Goodwin building of 1963.

Our involvement has been as mundane as stopping leaks in an aging, historic building, or as expansive as re-lighting, renovating most all of the museum galleries. But with each project, and given the depth of our knowledge of architectural styles and our attention to detail, we have been able to achieve, sometimes by surprise, added value for our client. The manner in which we enhanced the connections between buildings to achieve handicap access also significantly improved the clarity of visitor “way finding”. In re-roofing the Morgan building we were able re-open gallery skylights that had been blocked for decades. By relocating mechanical equipment and storage spaces we captured 16,000 s.f. of new found gallery space.

It should also be noted that Jared Edwards, FAIA, who specializes in Museum architecture and architectural museum design, has provided consulting services to numerous institutions including: The Yale Center for British Art, Mount Vernon, and the Connecticut Historical Society.

As a result of these efforts and to great fanfare, the Wadsworth Atheneum, is re-presenting itself and its collection to the general public. Perhaps the best compliment we have received for our work at the Atheneum is that “you wouldn’t have known you were there”. We are quite happy with that.