Bruce Katsiff, Director and CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum
yesterday announced that the Museum is moving ahead on the second phase of its $13.2 million expansion. The internationally recognized Philadelphia-based firm KieranTimberlake has been selected 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 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 Katsiff, who with the Museum's Board of Trustees chose KieranTimberlake from a pool of four firms who submitted proposals for the project. "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."
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."
Currently receiving world-wide attention for its design of the new Embassy of the United States in London, KieranTimberlake was established in Philadelphia in 1984 and has produced a diverse body of work for clients drawn to its environmentally ethical approach and history of innovation. The design community has recognized the firm for its integration of research and architecture, bestowing over 100 design citations, including the 2008 Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects, the highest honor given to an architectural practice. In addition to its national work, KieranTimberlake has several distinguished projects in the region, including the Melvin J. and Claire Levine Hall at the University of Pennsylvania; the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Suzanne Roberts Theatre; and West Middle School at the Shipley School. The firm is a recognized leader in sustainability, with four LEED Platinum buildings and three recent buildings named 'Top Ten Green' projects by the American Institute of Architects. KieranTimberlake's research into innovative building materials and processes has been exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and The Museum of Modern Art, where the firm's hugely-popular Cellophane House, a fully recyclable dwelling made of transparent materials, was displayed in the 2008 exhibition Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling.
The Michener Art Museum first announced expansion plans in April 2007 as the Museum kicked off the James A. Michener Centennial Campaign. Within two years, the Museum reached its campaign goals, completed its first phase of expansion and opened The Sharon B. and Sydney F. Martin Wing in September 2009. The new wing 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 entire building.
The Museum's Board President Kevin Putman said, "We believe in the future of Bucks County and we know that Phase 1 allowed us to serve over 138,000 visitors last year including nearly 10,000 school children. The Museum helps to preserve our artistic heritage and the arts are very important to the region's economic health."