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Philadelphia, USA


Philadelphia Museum of Art





Frank Gehry Partners LLp.

Historical Conservation
New Contemporary Art Gallery
New Circulation and Interior Design

Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bridging Time Through Architectural Innovation

In Philadelphia, where history reverberates through every cobblestone, and the echoes of the past meet the aspirations of the future, stands the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art. This historically significant project, while working as an architect with the illustrious Frank Gehry, represents not just an architectural feat but a harmonious marriage of interior design and architectural solutions in a historical museum context..

Our canvas was the museum, a timeless institution that cradled the city's artistic soul. With a size of 8,000 square meters, it was a sprawling expanse of history, art, and culture. But it yearned for evolution, for a breath of contemporary freshness. And that's precisely what we set out to achieve.

This project was not just about expansion; it was about the delicate dance between history and innovation. It was about the juxtaposition of classical elegance with the bold strokes of modernity. We embarked on a mission of historic preservation, ensuring that every stone, every carving, every whisper of the past remained intact. The essence of the museum had to endure, while its horizons expanded.

One of the most striking features of this transformation was the creation of a subterranean gallery for contemporary art beneath the iconic "Rocky Balboa" plaza. This subterranean realm breathed new life into the museum, a clandestine chamber where the avant-garde could unfold its wings. It was a testament to how architectural solutions can be both subtle and groundbreaking.

The interior design of this contemporary gallery was a symphony of contrasts. While it was below ground, it celebrated light. The plaza, during the day, bathed the gallery in natural illumination, a play of shadows and brilliance that danced upon the artwork. At night, it was the gallery's turn to illuminate the plaza, turning it into a spectacle that emphasized the classical façade's heroic grandeur.

But this transformation went beyond bricks and mortar. It wasn't just about expanding usable exhibition space; it was about redefining the museum's very soul. The entire exhibition program underwent a metamorphosis, as if it were a blank canvas yearning for a new narrative.

Our approach to this art gallery was akin to curating a visual saga. Each corner, each wall, was a canvas awaiting its masterpiece. The circulation within the museum was carefully orchestrated, guiding visitors through a journey that transcended time and medium. It was about ensuring that art was not just displayed but experienced.

In the realm of gallery design, this endeavour was a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. It was about creating spaces that whispered stories of the past while echoing the aspirations of the future. It was about honouring the museum's legacy while nurturing its evolution.

Frank Gehry, an architectural luminary, brought forth a synergy of ideas. It was about challenging conventions while respecting heritage. It was about weaving the threads of history into a tapestry of modernity.

As we gaze upon the Philadelphia Museum of Art today, it stands as a living testament to the power of design, the resilience of history, and the boundless possibilities of the future. It's not just a museum; it's a bridge that unites generations, a guardian of culture, and a testament to the enduring legacy of architecture.

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