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Maryhill Museum of Art Announces Plans for First Expansion in 70-Year History

GOLDENDALE, WA.- The Board of Trustees of Maryhill Museum of Art announced plans for a $10 million expansion project to be completed by March 2012. The new 25,500 square foot Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing, designed by GBD Architects of Portland, will allow Maryhill to meet a number of strategic objectives as it serves growing audiences from throughout Oregon, Washington and around the globe.

“Maryhill Museum of Art’s rich history and extraordinary setting make it one of the region’s leading museums and a true gem of the Pacific Northwest. A new wing will allow the museum to thrive now and well into the future,” says Jim Foster, president of the museum’s Board of Trustees.

Key features of the new wing include: a dedicated art education center to accommodate Maryhill’s wide range of public programming; a centralized collections suite for improved storage and to give curators and researchers more efficient access to the museum’s world-class collections; an outdoor plaza where visitors can better enjoy Maryhill’s extraordinary setting and growing collection of large-scale sculpture; and, a new café with terrace seating and stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge.

“This expansion will solidify Maryhill’s position as a unique cultural resource for residents of the Columbia River Gorge and beyond. The original building, designed as a residence in the early 20th century for museum founder and visionary Sam Hill, continues to serve the museum well. However, the new wing will allow us to offer even more public programs, welcoming spaces that highlight our breathtaking setting, and to better care for and interpret our collections,” says Laura Cheney, of White Salmon, Washington, who co-chairs the museum’s Campaign Committee with Patty Burnet of Moro, Oregon.

To minimize the visual impact of The Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing, the first floor will be located underground. It will contain 8,425 square feet for an art education center, collections storage and study rooms, exhibits, restrooms, and café. A 1,700 square foot gallery at ground level will link the existing historic building to the new wing. Exterior spaces, including the Vista Terrace and Grand Plaza, will provide another 11,825 square feet of interpretive space. The project also includes the renovation of 3,545 square feet of existing galleries, office spaces and the museum store.

The design is energy efficient, sustainable and honors the nearly 100-year-old museum building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The design complies with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

“We took many of our design cues from Maryhill’s dramatic natural setting. As a result, the new wing complements but doesn’t compete with the historic building or the surrounding landscape,” says Gene W. Callan, AIA, of GBD Architects, which is well-known for green design, including Portland’s Gerding Theater at the Armory, the first project on the National Register of Historic Places to earn a LEED Platinum rating; GBD also designed the Brewery Blocks in Portland’s Pearl District.

Callan has a very personal connection to Maryhill Museum of Art. Both Gene and his wife, Peggy, grew up in nearby Goldendale, Washington and were married on the grounds 33 years ago.

“I have always been intrigued by Maryhill. This is such an unusual place with so many intriguing stories and intriguing art,” says Callan. "But I have always believed that visitors are as attracted to the site as much as they are to the collection.”

“The goal of this project was not to create an architectural icon, but a quiet addition to the museum that is compatible, efficient and honest, while taking advantage of the dynamic views of the Columbia River Gorge,” continues Callan.

Traditional stucco, concrete, and metal with carefully placed glazing is used throughout the new wing, providing a transparency that contrasts with the existing opaque building. The expansion and renovation, managed by Milt Ketchum of Sherman County, Oregon and constructed by Schommer and Sons Construction of Portland, will strive for a United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating.

The wing will be constructed with minimal impact on the landscape and natural environment. The expansion itself is underground, maximizing its insulating and energy-efficient qualities. The concrete floors will feature radiant heat, while the Grand Plaza will act as a solar reflector, keeping the spaces beneath cool. Native plantings will reduce the heat island effect and provide a stormwater catchment system to filter rainwater and eliminate downhill erosion. A new irrigation halo around the campus will provide new protection against the frequent brush fires of the region. Ultra-low flow water fixtures will be used throughout the new wing as well as energy-efficient lighting. Recycled materials, such as site-harvested Columbia River basalt, and certified wood are featured as well.

Maryhill Museum of Art | 70-Year History | Jim Foster |

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