Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Size: 26,500 SF
Current Phase: Design
Built to expand exhibition and educational opportunities for the university and surrounding communities, the museum establishes an urbane environment in which art is encountered as both planar and in the round, and where approach and circulation around a work inform the experience of it. The architecture of both building and landscape respond sympathetically to an existing Michael Graves building, now the Museum Education Center, harmonizing without mimicking, and unifying the overall site.
A plaza linking the two buildings has the qualities of a formal urban space, but at a scale comfortable for a lone visitor. Beyond it, naturalized gardens provide sites for large-scale sculptures which punctuate views from both interior and exterior promenades. To the museum’s opposite side, walls partly enclose reflecting and waterfall pools and a contemplative garden with lush yet architectural plantings.
On the museum’s facades charcoal brick masses, conceived as eroded ruins, create a visual base, into which a lighter limestone building mass is inserted with panels both recessed and pulled forward from the skin to create depth. The limestone’s verticality and a continuous cornice line and overhang make dramatic connection with the sky.
Inside, a double-height lobby, monumental stair and bridge offer a dramatic spatial experience. Building and grounds continuously frame and reframe the art as visitors enter and move through them.
Narrative by Jonathan Lerner