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Baltimore Museum of Art Selects Maryland-Based Firm Ziger/Snead for Major Renovation

BALTIMORE, MD.- The Baltimore Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees today announced its selection of the Maryland-based architecture firm Ziger/Snead to work with the Museum on its ambitious $24 million capital renovation. The decision follows a comprehensive year-long selection process. The BMA’s much-anticipated renovation—scheduled to be completed in 2014 during the BMA’s 100th Anniversary—will create dynamic spaces for art and people and ensure the BMA is a magnet for new generations of visitors.

“The BMA’s Architect Selection Committee was very impressed by Ziger/Snead’s clarity of vision and design and their success with both historic and contemporary buildings,” said Stiles Tuttle Colwill, Chair, BMA Board of Trustees. “We are confident that their design will help advance the BMA’s goal of creating a more welcoming environment for our visitors and a more beautiful setting for our magnificent collection.”

“The extraordinary creativity and effort demonstrated by all of the Maryland firms who participated in the selection process made this a very difficult decision,” said BMA Director Doreen Bolger. “We are extremely grateful to all of the firms.”

In January 2010, the Board formed an Architect Selection Committee and, recognizing the abundance of highly qualified firms in our state, voted to consider only architecture firms headquartered in Maryland. This is the first time the BMA has focused a search exclusively on Maryland-based architects for a project of this scale. It is estimated that the entire renovation project will create 185 jobs in construction and related industries.

The Architect Selection Committee was chaired by Stiles Tuttle Colwill and composed of current and former Trustees with expertise in architecture, design, construction, finance, and fundraising: Alexander C. Baer, Diane Cho, Suzanne F. Cohen, Nancy L. Dorman, Sandra Levi Gerstung, Amy L. Gould, Charles W. Newhall III, Frederica K. Saxon, and James D. Thornton. The BMA hired Columbia, Maryland-based Synthesis, Inc., as owner’s representative last fall to manage the selection process and complete the renovation project. The Architect Selection Committee issued a Request for Qualifications in late December 2010. A short list of firms was developed in February 2011 from an evaluation of the submittals of qualifications received. Each firm participated in an extensive tour of the BMA’s facility and presented a proposal to the committee. Two finalists were selected at the end of March. In April, the
committee visited the firms’ offices and traveled to three relevant buildings designed by each firm in order to better understand how their practice could contribute to the BMA’s goals and vision. After great consideration, the committee presented its unanimous recommendation to the full Board of Trustees during a special meeting held on April 26.

The capital renovation is the result of nearly a decade of careful planning by the Museum’s Board of Trustees and staff, including a long-term strategic plan, an architectural master plan, and a campaign feasibility study. Ziger/Snead will undertake conceptual design planning throughout the summer.

Ziger/Snead LLP has provided award-winning design solutions for public and private clients in the Baltimore region and beyond for more than 25 years. Their expertise includes work for academic campuses, cultural institutions, non-profit headquarters and community centers, religious spaces, urban redevelopment and mixed-use projects, and custom residential design. Previous projects include the Maryland Historical Society, the Brown Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum at the Living Classrooms Foundation.

“We have long admired the BMA’s original building designed by John Russell Pope and we see this as an opportunity to bring fresh, relevant, welcoming, and dynamic changes to greatly enrich each visitor’s experience,” said Steve Ziger. “We also fully recognize how critically important this project is to the BMA, our City, and the broader community.”

The $24 million project will bring significant improvements for the visitor experience, including enhancements of galleries housing three major art collections—Contemporary, American, and African; improvements to the East Lobby; and upgrades to visitor amenities. Much needed improvements in essential infrastructure, including two new roofs and a state-of-the-art building automation system, will improve care of the 90,000 works of art in the BMA’s world-class collection. The BMA will remain open and will continue to offer free admission during the renovation to ensure its service to the community.

The portion of the renovation project focused on the West Wing for Contemporary Art began this year and is being led by Baltimore-based Marshall Craft Associates architectural firm, which has replaced eight of the Museum’s 10 roofs, and has experience with many Smithsonian museum projects. The new lighting system is being designed by the New York-based Renfro Design Group. When it reopens in spring 2012, the West Wing for Contemporary Art will offer a more comprehensive and of-the-moment look at the BMA’s masterpieces of contemporary art from Abstract Expressionism to the present.

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