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Norton Museum of Art celebrates topping out of Foster + Partners expansion
Norton Museum of Art Executive Director Hope Alswang signs the final beam at The New Norton “topping out ceremony”, image by Jacek Gancarz.

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.- Last week, leaders from the Norton Museum of Art and Gilbane Building Company, along with Museum staff and more than 100 construction workers attended a “topping out ceremony” for The New Norton—the Museum’s $100 million, Foster + Partners-designed expansion project. At the construction site, a tree was attached to a steel beam signed by construction workers and other attendees, and hoisted by GBC to the structure’s highest point. The longstanding tradition of the topping out ceremony is inspired by the Scandinavian tradition of placing a tree atop a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits for displacing their brethren.

At the ceremony, Norton Board Chair Harry Howell, Building Committee Chair Larry Sosnow, Executive Director Hope Alswang, and Gilbane V.P. Robert Hayes thanked the workers who have contributed to the realization of the 42,000-square foot wing. In her remarks, Alswang stated: “We are thrilled to achieve this major construction milestone and are grateful to everyone who is helping us realize The New Norton. The expansion will allow the Museum to better serve the more than 100,000 annual visitors who attend exhibitions and programming, including the 12,000 schoolchildren the Norton educates each year.” She added that, “The New Norton is a transformative project for the Palm Beach County community and beyond. The new building has not only contributed jobs toour local community, it will also give our county a landmark building by an architect of international renown and dramatically expand visitation.”

In 2016, the Norton broke ground for a visionary expansion designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners, under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster. The project reorients the Norton’s entrance to the main thoroughfare of South Dixie Highway, restoring the symmetry of the museum’s original 1941 design, and includes a new 42,000-square-foot West Wing that nearly doubles education space, and increases gallery space for the Norton’s renowned collection. The transformation of the Museum’s 6.3-acre campus will create a museum in a garden, featuring new, verdant spaces and a sculpture garden.

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