Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia’s preeminent art museum houses a world-renowned art collection in a landmark building originally opened in 1928. It is one of the country’s foremost destinations in which to see world-class art boasting, among many highlights, the finest public collection of Rodin sculpture in the United States and an exceptional collection of American painting, sculpture, furniture, silver and ceramics.

The Museum embarked on a physical transformation in 2007, supported by a $525 million campaign. The vision of the Core Project was to create a significant amount of new public space within the footprint of the landmark building and add considerable new gallery space. Altieri’s work included concept and schematic designs, design development of all phases together, and separate contract documentation preparation for each phase of the multi-phase construction project. The entire construction schedule extended over a multi-year period, during which time the Museum remained open to the public in those areas not affected by the construction. The central chiller plant includes provisions to minimize operating costs by responding to utility rate changes on both the short-term and long-term basis. New air handling units serve gallery and other program spaces and maintain temperature and relative humidity levels required by the collections housed in the spaces. Pre-treatment units pre-filter, heat and humidify, cool and dehumidify ventilation air as required based on season, prior to distributing to the gallery units. The chiller plant design evolved to an all-electric chiller plant, with magnetic bearing chillers. New electric service and equipment were provided to distribute high voltage power throughout the building. It is transformed locally for delivery to lighting and power panels in the various wings for end use applications. New lighting and power systems were provided for all spaces. New plumbing systems that include ADA access were provided throughout.

Altieri recently completed the 76-seat Stir restaurant as part of the Museum’s master plan. Stir is the only Gehry-designed restaurant offering fine dining to the public anywhere on the East Coast.

Images: Chuck Wick/Altieri; Philip Steiner/Altieri

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Completion Date: Multi-phase multi-year completion

Architects: Gehry Partners LLP

Awards: * ENR (Engineering News Record) Mid-Atlantic Award of Merit - Cultural/Worship - 2021; Platinum, Building Design + Construction 2021 Reconstruction Awards

Altieri Services: MEPF