Rick Mather Architects were selected from a list of internationally acclaimed architects in 2011 to develop a masterplan for the expansion of the Peabody Essex Museum in the historic city of Salem, Massachusetts.
Founded in 1799 by many of America's first global entrepreneurs, PEM's collection encompasses broad cross-sections of American, Asian, Asian export, African, Oceanic, maritime, photography and Native American art plus early American and Chinese architecture. As one of America's most significant art and cultural institutions the museum has a collection of objects and artefacts of unrivalled breadth and quality. The collection includes 1.8 million objects, 22 historic buildings (including four National Historic Landmark buildings and six structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places), plus Yin Yu Tang, the unique Qing dynasty Chinese house.
The masterplan developed by RMA will lead to the expansion of the museum, increasing gallery space for both permanent exhibitions - which will permit the museum to more effectively present its large and diverse collection of works of art - and a growing temporary exhibition programme which attracts world class exhibitions. The masterplan also addresses many of the operational and servicing challenges facing the existing museum.
Working closely with the museum, RMA have developed a comprehensive program which will add up to 75,000 square feet of new galleries; a new restaurant and roof garden; new public program and education space; and essential improvements to collections storage, exhibition processing and conservation functions. RMA have developed a conceptual design to test the program requirements and will be central to the design of the expansion project.
Rick Mather Architects have also designed a $30m first phase which includes the renovation and creation of new gallery spaces to modern museum standards, provides vital education and administrative facilities along with installing new utilities, improving heating, ventilation and environmental controls which will serve both the existing museum and the subsequent expansion phase of the project. Completion of this initial phase is expected towards the end of 2013.
Peabody Essex Museum
175,000 sq feet extension
75,000 sq feet new gallery space