Glenstone Museum

Glenstone Museum is a consummate example of the choreographed integration of architecture, landscape, and art. Its mission is to provide visitors with a personal experience that ensures “an intimate encounter with art.” The museum, with its personal collection of post-World War II art, was originally opened in 2006 and now includes a new museum building called the Pavilions, an additional 130 acres of meadows, woodlands, and streams, an Arrival Hall, bookstore and café.

The design team was given a mandate to advance the state of the art in museum design. Overall, the brief required Altieri to do what we do best – design highly inventive engineering solutions, specifically targeted at optimization of energy efficiency and expansive abilities for redundancy; achieved with the quality, character, and integrity of the architecture as the paramount intention.

Altieri designed a highly controlled, multi-layered museum environment with extremely tight tolerances. Elements of the building systems designed to optimize energy efficiency include frictionless centrifugal chillers and modular heat recovery chiller, air handler systems arranged as blow-through to reduce necessary air volume by at least 15%, collection storage units fitted with passive desiccant wheels to allow conditions drier than 50 ̊F dew point, an energy recovery wheel treating outdoor air, and photovoltaic array covering the roof of the Arrival Hall. Abilities for redundancy are provided through multiple supply fans, dehumidified ventilation air from a dedicated outdoor air processing (DOAP) unit, and multi-fuel system of generators to allow for “business as usual” mission critical operation.

Museum images: Iwan Baan – Courtesy Glenstone Museum; Mechanical Rooms images: Susan Fisher Plotner/Altieri

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Location: Potomac, Maryland

Completion Date: 2018

Architects: Thomas Phifer and Partners

Awards: Most Innovative Project Over $100M - Architectural Engineering Integration, 2022 AEI Professional Project Award; AIA 2020 Architecture Award; 2020 AIA New York “Best in Competition” Design Award; 2020 Gold German Design Award; The Pavilions and Café LEED Gold, Arrival Hall LEED Platinum.

Altieri Services: MEPF

Water Court at the Pavilions - Photo: Iwan Baan - Courtesy: Glenstone Museum (IMAGE 1815)

Technical Images