designs for the Portland Museum of Art’s expansion
Portland Museum of Art has unveiled four finalist designs for its first significant expansion in more than 40 years in the heart of downtown. The planned intervention of the four historic buildings will double the size of the museum, with around 60,000 sq ft (approx. 5,500 sqm) ready to welcome an increased number of visitors and PMA’s broadening collections. More than 100 participants from around the globe submitted their proposals, while the Finalists were selected for their innovative and future-forward architecture and Distinctive vision, which demonstrate a deep understanding of the museum’s values and principles of equity, sustainability, accessibility, and diversity.
‘The PMA’s new museum wing will anchor and integrate the entire campus and double the institution’s existing size. It will be an environmentally and ecologically responsible expansion that will accommodate new collections and major exhibitions, host community events, programs, and performance space for the seeing and making of art, and will consolidate all staff offices.’
The shortlisted concepts are designed by Adjaye AssociatesLEVER Architecture, MVRDVand Toshiko Mori Architect + Johnston Marklee + Preston Scott Cohen. See below the four finalist schemes.
image by Adjaye Associates
The first selected proposal is designed by Adjaye Associates, working with KMA, Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture, Atelier Ten, and 2×4. The design team imagines the museum expansion made with local, land-recycled rammed earth that smoothly complements the existing brickwork. Exposed structural timber beams will act as both interior structure and finish. This material choice’celebrates lifecycles within the regional landscape, their expression returning the architecture to the heritage and ecology of the museum’s place whilst reducing the overall carbon footprint,’ explains the architects.
‘Coding principles of adaptability into the structure’s DNA, the entirety of the space is conceived to function as a flexible frame, allowing for Reconfiguration and dissolving the distinction between the museum’s programs into an accessible communal experience. Acting as a wayfinding guide and invitation to explore, the expansion is anchored by a central staircase that extends the public realm from The Casco Entry up to the rooftop. As such, the expansion culminates with a public amenity in the sky, featuring a rooftop garden, sculpture park and unparalleled views of Casco Bay and the city skyline.’
image by Adjaye Associates | recycled materials complement the existing brickwork
image by Adjaye Associates
The second design is conceived by Oregon-based studio LEVER Architecture, in partnership with Unknown Studio, Chris Newell – Akomawt Educational Initiative, Openbox, Once-Future Office, Atelier Ten, and Studio Pacifica. The proposal pays homage to Wabanaki’s worldview by embracing the understanding of daylight.
A generous amount of glazing, locally-sourced timber, terracotta, and granite complete the architecture, introducing a welcoming environment. The Architects explained: ‘During the summer solstice, the expansion’s curved roof cradles the rising sun; in winter, the sun illuminates the central indoor public space. Generous and airy, the architecture is an expression of the natural world made from regional timber, terracotta, and granite.’
The plan sees a replacement of the administrative wing with an accessible public space, dubbed the ‘Free Street.’ ‘To unify the campus, our design removes barriers—replacing the administrative wing with a free ground floor public space traversing the site. This ‘Free Street’ and the adjoining landscapes form the connective tissue that unites eclectic buildings and programs. The reimagined sculpture court becomes a light-filled, accessible plaza and celebratory entry to a new flexible performance space.’
image by LEVER Architecture | a wide, curved structure adds transparency and openness image by LEVER Architecture | drawing on the Wabanaki tribe’s ‘connection to people and place’