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Thomas Beeby, Dean 

The School of Architecture, Yale University 
Hammond, Beeby and Babka, Inc. 
Chicago, Illinois 

Joan Darragh, Vice Director for Planning and Architecture 
The Brooklyn Museum 
Brooklyn, New York 

Thomas Krens, Director 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 

New York, New York 

Laurence D. Miller, former Director 
Laguna Gloria Art Museum 
Austin, Texas 

Steven A. Nash, Associate Director and Chief Curator 
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 
San Francisco, California 

Frederick M. Nicholas, Chairman, Board of Trustees 
The Museum of Contemporary Art 
Los Angeles, California 

Stuart Silver, President 
Stuart Silver Associates 
Scarsdale, New York 

James S. Snyder, Deputy Director for Planning and Program Support 
The Museum of Modern Art 
New York, New York 

Project Director 

Nancy L. Pressly, Assistant Director, Museum Program 

National Endowment for the Arts 

Washington, D.C 

Research provided by Liza Broudy 

This project was sponsored by the Museum Program 

of the National Endowment for the Arts 

in cooperation with The American Federation of Arts. 

Susan Anthony Loria was Project Coordinator, The American Federation 

of Arts. 


Planning and Building 
for Art 

Joan Darragh and James S. Snyder 



New York Oxford 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS in association with 

The American Federation of Arts 

and the National Endowment for the Arts 


Oxford University Press 

Oxford New York Toronto 
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and associated companies in 
Berlm Ibadan 

Copyright © 1993 by The American Federation of Arts 
and the National Endowment for the Arts 

Published by Oxford University Press, Inc., 

200 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 

Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, 
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, 
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, 
without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Darragh, Joan. 

Museum design : planning and building for art / 

Joan Darragh and James S. Snyder. 

p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 

ISBN 0-19-506458-5 — ISBN 0-19-506459-3 (pbk.) 

1. Art museum architecture — United States — Designs and plans. 

2. Building — Estimates — United States. 

3. Art museums — United States — Maintenance and repair. 
I. Snyder, James S. II. Title. 

NA6695.D37 1993 727'.7'0973— dc20 92-8289 

Museum Design: Planning and Building, for Art 
IS the result of a research project initiated 
and funded by the Museum Program of 
the National Endowment for the Arts. 


Printed in the United States of America 
on acid-free paper 


New museum architecture has appeared on the American landscape in almost 
every year since the 1970s, the decade of the centennial celebration of inde- 
pendence. The future promises little change; regardless of economic condi- 
tions, museum building will proceed at some pace. With this in mind, the 
Museum Program of the National Endowment for the Arts initiated in 1987 a 
research project that has now resulted in this book, designed to inform mem- 
bers of the American museum community — trustees, staff, patrons, civic 
leaders, architects, consultants, and others — about the process involved in 
planning, designing, and building or renovating museums, as well as moving 
into them. The Arts Endowment asked The American Federation of Arts 
(AFA) to administer the project under Susan Anthony Loria's direction. 
Principal funding came from the Museum Program of the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts. Nancy L. Pressly, then Assistant Director of the Museum 
Program, was the project's director and provided the vision and stewardship 
that saw this work to its completion. 

A skilled committee of eight individuals whose collective wisdom and expe- 
rience in museum affairs were exemplary served as advisers: Thomas Beeby, 
Dean of the School of Architecture, Yale University; Joan Darragh, Vice 
Director for Planning and Architecture, The Brooklyn Museum; Thomas 
Krens, Director, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Lau- 
rence D. Miller, former Director, Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, Texas; 
Steven A. Nash, Associate Director and Chief Curator, The Fine Arts Muse- 
ums of San Francisco; Frederick M. Nicholas, Chairman of the Board of 
Trustees, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Stuart Silver, 
President, Stuart Silver Associates, Scarsdale, New York; and James S. 

Snyder, Deputy Director for Planning and Program Support, The Museum of 
Modern Art, New York. Joan Darragh and James Snyder went beyond their 
advisory role and consented to write the book. We are greatly indebted to 
them for their special contribution. 

In addition, many individuals in museums across the country contributed 
by providing firsthand information to the project's researchers and authors on 
all aspects of their own building program experiences. Both the National 
Endowment for the Arts and the AFA wish to express their gratitude to those 
who gave freely of their time and energies with surveys and interviews. The 
following twenty museums participated: The Art Institute of Chicago; The 
Art Museum, Princeton University, New Jersey; Boise Art Museum, Idaho; 
The Brooklyn Museum; The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk; Virginia; Dallas 
Museum of Art; Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology, Atlan- 
ta; Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; 
J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, Cahfornia; Laguna Gloria Art Museum, 
Austin, Texas; The Menil Collection, Houston; Montgomery Museum of 
Fine Arts, Alabama; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The 
Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Newark Museum, New Jersey; 
Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California; Peabody Museum 
of Salem, Massachusetts; Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, Florida; Arthur M. 
Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts; Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, California; and Virginia Museum 
of Fine Arts, Richmond. 

Many other members of the museum profession also aided in the research 
that supported the book. We are indebted to them for their thoughtfulness 
and understanding and for the advice they gave during the course of this 

The National Endowment for the Arts and The American Federation of 
Arts believe that this book will make all those involved in building, expand- 
ing, and renovating museums more confident and enlightened participants in 

that process. 

Andrew Oliver, Jr. 

Director, Museum Program 

National Endowment for the Arts 

Serena Rattazzi 


The American Federation of Arts 


As Project Director, I would like to convey my gratitude and thanks to the 
many colleagues who have provided assistance through every stage of this 
endeavor. It is not possible to acknowledge everyone individually, but it is a 
tribute to the importance of this project to the museum field and the gener- 
osity of the museum profession that so many gave unstintingly of their time 
and knowledge. Responding promptly to requests for photographs and other 
information, many shared not only their triumphs but also their frustrations 
and failures. This openness extended beyond the survey participants and 
contributed immeasurably to the success of the project. 

In addition to the Advisory Committee, which reviewed all stages of the 
manuscript, I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following indi- 
viduals who read early manuscript drafts and commented on the technical 
appendices: Calvert Audrain and William R. Leischer, The Art Institute of 
Chicago; William Austin, J. W. Bateson Company, Dallas; Joseph M. Chap- 
man, Chapman Ducibella Associates, Wilton, Connecticut; Kevin E. Consey, 
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; E. Verner Johnson, E. Verner John- 
son and Associates, Inc., Boston; Katharine Lee, Virginia Museum of Fine 
Arts, Richmond; Marvin Maas, Consentini Associates, New York; Paul Per- 
rot, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; David Robinson, Architect, 
Robinson, Mills & Williams, San Francisco; and J. Andrew Wilson, Smithso- 
nian Institution, Office of Fire Protection, Washington, D.C. I would also like 
to thank Paula Terry, Coordinator for Special Constituencies at the National 
Endowment for the Arts, for her assistance in the preparation of Appendix A, 
"Accessibihty," and for working closely with its author, John P. S. Salem. 

This project extended over several years and was coordinated at the Ameri- 

can Federation of Arts initially by Maureen Keefe, who, with the assistance of 
Jennifer Beesley, helped organize the first Advisory Committee meetings, 
and starting in 1988, by Susan Anthony Loria, who took over as Project 
Coordinator for the AFA, assuming the bulk of the responsibility for its 
administration and successful completion. On behalf of all those involved in 
this project, I would like to acknowledge the dedication Susan brought to this 
project and the professionalism and good cheer with which she coordinated 
every aspect. I would also like to thank Mark Gotlob, Rachel Klein, and 
Michaelyn Mitchell at the AFA for expediting the final stages of the manu- 
script — Rachel, for securing photographs and reproduction rights, and Mi- 
chaelyn, Head of Publications, for coordinating the final draft of the manu- 
script and overseeing the production phase with Oxford University Press, and 
especially for her skillful and expert professional guidance, for which we all 
are in her debt. 

Finally, I would like to thank Andrew Oliver, Director of the Museum 
Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, for his unwavering support 
for this project and all the members of the Advisory Committee for their 
invaluable contributions, especially Joan Darragh and James S. Snyder, who 
stepped beyond their original roles as committee members and wrote this 
excellent guide. 

Nancy Pressly 


The first meeting of the Advisory Committee formed by the National En- 
dowment for the Arts to shepherd the creation of this book took place in 
September 1987. It is a testament to the determination of the many who 
played a role in its evolution that it is now completed and broadly available in 
published form. 

The authors are most indebted to Nancy L. Pressly, former Assistant 
Director of the Museum Program, National Endowment for the Arts, and 
Project Director for this publication, whose sincere and tireless commitment 
to this project's success never faltered. Our gratitude is further extended to 
Andrew Oliver, Director of the Museum Program, National Endowment for 
the Arts, and Serena Rattazzi, Director, and Myrna Smoot, former Director, 
of the American Federation of Arts, for their thoughtful optimism in foster- 
ing this project. Their support likewise never waned. 

Our colleagues were deeply engaged with this process, and it was a memo- 
rable privilege to share ideas and information with them in the series of 
meetings that forged the outline of problems and issues we were then chal- 
lenged to address in our texts. We are indeed grateful to them, and, particu- 
larly among them, special thanks is due Stuart Silver for his many extra 
insights and for his initial draft of the text material on exhibition design. 

A formidable amount of research preceded our work on the texts. The 
comprehensive diligence of Liza Broudy in site visits to and interviews with 
our survey participants proved especially enriching as our chapters unfolded. 
Her technical appendixes at the end of this volume are also a sound reflection 
of her considerable experience in the field. 

On Liza's behalf, we add thanks to those who worked closely with her. 

giving generously of their time: Jeffrey Cruikshank, Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts; Mike Roscoe, former Virginia Deputy State Fire Marshal; Roger 
Clisby, The Chrysler Museum; Ann Gunn, Princeton University Art Muse- 
um; William Lull, Garrison & Lull Associates; Richard G. Munday, Archi- 
tect; Michael V. Padden, Architect; and a number of professionals who pre- 
pared technical reviews of certain chapters: Joseph Fleischer, James Stewart 
Polshek & Partners, New York; Seamus Henchy, The Brooklyn Museum; 
Michael Koeppel, Christopher Norfleet, Robert Profeta, and Gary Spiegal, 
HRH Construction Corporation, New York; and Bartholomew Voorsanger, 
Bartholomew Voorsanger Associates, New York. 

Juggling the details of a project of this scope over an extended period is not 
an easy task, especially when the participants are scattered across the country. 
We therefore owe much gratitude to the staffs of the National Endowment for 
the Arts and the American Federation of Arts. As noted already, the project 
was coordinated for the AFA first by Maureen Keefe and, after 1988, by 
Susan Anthony Loria, who orchestrated the activities of the Advisory Com- 
mittee and then followed our preparations for and completion of the manu- 
script with dedicated and uncompromising equanimity. Thereafter, Mark 
Gotlob, Rachel Klein, and Michaelyn Mitchell at the AFA were especially 
helpful to us in guiding the manuscript through the many stages of produc- 
tion. Michaelyn, as Head of Publications, deserves particular recognition for 
her role as liaison with Oxford University Press, providing sound editorial 
counsel with superior good sense. 

We are also particularly appreciative of the high professionalism of Joyce 
Berry, Irene Pavitt, and their colleagues at Oxford University Press, who 
brought this book to life, reminding us always of the needs of the audience for 
whom we were writing, and to Susan Miegs for meeting the challenge of a 
first editorial review aimed at merging our two separate voices into a single 
text. Our thanks go as well to Barbara Christen for assisting us with the 

The manuscript production assistance provided by Wanda Sweat at The 
Brooklyn Museum and first Beth Handler and then Shawn Campbell at The 
Museum of Modern Art cannot go unnoted. Their collective stamina and 
good cheer deserve our respect and admiration. 

Finally, we wish to thank Robert T. Buck, Director, The Brooklyn Muse- 
um, and Richard E. Oldenburg, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, for 
encouraging us to accept the challenge of this project; along with them, we 
also thank our many professional colleagues, staff and trustees, architects and 
building professionals, in both our museums and elsewhere, whose intel- 
ligence and experience have informed our work at every stage. 

New York J.D. 

New York J.S.S. 

July 1992 


Nancy L. Pressly 


1. Museums New and Old: Notable Distinctions, 23 

The New Museum Organization, 23 
The Existing Museum Organization, 24 
Common and Uncommon Concerns, 29 

2. Planning: An Overview, 32 

The Mission Statement, 33 
The Assessment of Needs, 36 
Resources for Building, 38 
Long-Range Planning, 48 

3. The Formal Planning Process, 51 

Making a Program Statement, 52 

Who Does the Work? 54 

Conclusion: The Planning Foundation, 55 

4. Architectural Programming, 57 

Preparing an Architectural Program, 68 

A Sample Outline, 70 

Drafting the Architectural Program, 89 

5. What Next? A Point of Departure, 92 

The First Project Budget, 92 
The First Feasibility Review, 94 


6. First Step Toward Design: Selection of the Architect, 99 

Who Selects the Architect? 100 

What the Committee Must Know to Make the Choice, 101 

How to Select the Architect, 114 

The Final Choice, 119 

7. Bringing the Architect on Board, 120 

The Contract, 120 

Who Designs Installations? 126 

Types and Ownership of Documents, 135 

8. Entering the Design Phase, 137 

The Team and Committee Structure, 138 
Project Administration, 140 
Managing the Team, 144 
Reviewing the Architectural Program, 146 
Budget and Schedule Issues, 150 

9. The Design-Development Process, 156 

Documenting the Process, 156 

Schematics, 157 

Design Development, 159 

The Construction Documents, 160 

Special Problems Faced by Museums, 161 


10. Preparation and Bidding, 167 

Getting Started: The Management Team, 167 

The Budget Review, 177 

Types of Contracts, 179 

The Bid Documents, 180 

The Construction Schedule, 180 

Fast Tracking, 182 

Contractual Issues, 183 

Buying Out the Job: Selecting the Contractor, 185 

11. Construction Administration, 188 

The Job-Review Process, 188 
Site Mobilization, 189 
Project Documentation, 194 
Shop Drawings, 195 
Start-Up Trades, 195 
Long-Lead Items, 196 

12. Changes and Reviews, 197 

Changes = Money, 197 

Board Review, 200 

Government and Community Review, 201 

PubUcity, 202 

13. Finishing Up, 203 

Punch List versus Incomplete Base Contract, 204 
Manuals, Training, and Attic Stock, 204 
Special Interior-Design Transitions, 204 


14. Setting the Stage, 211 

Project Completion, 211 
Psychological Sensitivities, 213 
Physical Sensitivities, 216 

15. Achieving Occupancy: Between Completion and Opening, 218 

Taking Possession: A Contract Term, 219 
Steps to Achieve Occupancy, 220 
Practical Tips for Easing Move-in, 228 

16. Coping After the Move, 231 

Physical Issues, 231 
Psychological Issues, 232 
After Completion, 233 

Appendix A. Accessibihty (John P. S. Salem), 239 

Mobihty Impairments, 240 
Sensory Impairments, 241 
Dexterity Impairments, 242 
Aging, 242 

Legislation and Codes, 242 
Accessible or Universal Design, 243 

Appendix B. Performance Criteria (Liza Broudy), 249 

Environmental Control, 249 
Acoustics, 254 
Weight Loads, 256 
Electrical Loads, 257 
Plumbing, 257 

Appendix C. Climate Control (Liza Broudy), 259 

Climate Control, 260 
Climate-Control Systems, 260 
Decision Making, 262 

Appendix D. Lighting (Liza Broudy), 263 

Planning for Lighting, 263 

Conservation Concerns, 263 

Natural Light, 265 

Artificial Light, 268 

Predicting the Effect of Lighting Schemes, 270 

Appendix E. Fire Protection (Liza Broudy), 272 

The Principles of Fire Protection, 272 
Fire-Detection and Fire-Alarm Systems, 273 
Fire-Extinguishing Systems, 274 
The Dilemma of Choice, 276 

Appendix F. Security and Life Safety (Liza Broudy), 278 

Planning for Security, 278 
Assessing Risk, 279 
Planning the Building, 281 

Appendix G. Understanding Drawings and Models (Liza Broudy), 283 

Drawings, 284 

Models, 287 

Contract Documents, 288 

Summary: The Museum Design Project Survey, 289 

Bibliography, 295 
Index, 311 



BY THE MID-1970S, after the great building boom of the 1960s and early 
1970s, many thought that the great era of museum building was clearly 
over and that the rapid expansion that had permitted the art rush of the 
1960s was not likely to return for some time.i Yet as early as 1982, the 
Whitney Museum of American Art presented an exhibition entitled "New 
American Art Museums," which examined museum expansion during the 
previous five years when, once again, an unprecedented number of American 
art museums had constructed or were planning new buildings or new addi- 
tions. Museum expansion continued unabated throughout the 1980s. It 
might be tempting now to say that this trend is indeed finally over, but the 
number of art museums still contemplating expansion or already in the 
design phase, among them the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Mario 
Botta) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (Josef Paul Kleihues), 
as well as the J. Paul Getty Museum (Richard Meier), the Museum of Con- 
temporary Art, La Jolla (Robert Venturi), and the Museum of Fine Arts, 
Houston (Rafael Moneo), would seem to suggest otherwise. 

In response to this surge in museum building and our knowledge of at least 
fifty to sixty additional projects either under consideration or in the early 
stages of planning and implementation, the Museum Program at the National 
Endowment for the Arts initiated a project in 1987 to produce a book on the 
planning and construction of new art museums and the expansion of existing 
facilities. The intent of this project was to help museums become informed 
and knowledgeable clients, able to assume responsibility for the management 
of the museum-building process and able to create, along with the project 
team of architects and consultants, a building both aesthetically and func- 

tionally appropriate for their needs. Its inspiration came from the awareness 
among museum professionals that while new art museums, many of which 
were unquestionably important architecturally, had proliferated, too many of 
these buildings did not adequately meet the functional requirements of the 
art museum. Despite enormous budgets, headlines and excitement, and ob- 
vious gains, many museum clients did not get the buildings they needed. 

This book will try to clarify the numerous complexities inherent in the 
building process — particularly for board members, museum administrators, 
and professional staff who are profoundly involved with and affected by both 
the process and the result. They are the individuals who are often called on to 
make far-reaching decisions in the midst of the process without the benefit of 
previous experience or insight into the ramifications of their choices. 

The Museum Program, with the assistance of the American Federation of 
Arts in coordinating and implementing the project, brought together a dis- 
tinguished Advisory Committee that represented what might be considered 
the primary players in such an undertaking: architect Thomas Beeby from 
the firm of Hammond, Beeby and Babka, Inc., Chicago, and Dean of the 
School of Architecture, Yale University; art museum directors Thomas 
Krens, then Director of the Williams College Art Museum and currently 
Director of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Laurence D. Miller, 
who was at the time Director of the Laguna Gloria Art Museum; Steven A. 
Nash, Chief Curator at the Dallas Museum of Art during the period in which 
its new museum was built and currently Associate Director and Chief Cura- 
tor at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Frederick M. Nicholas, 
Chairman of the Board of Trustees at The Museum of Contemporary Art, 
Los Angeles, and during the period of the museum's construction Chairman 
of the Building Committee; Stuart Silver of Stuart Silver Associates, an 
internationally known museum design consultant who was Director of De- 
sign at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for seventeen years; Joan Darragh, 
Vice Director for Planning and Architecture at The Brooklyn Museum and 
project director for the museum's master plan; and James S. Snyder, Deputy 
Director for Planning and Program Support at The Museum of Modern Art, 
who directed the museum's 1984 expansion and renovation program. 

This book is largely a result of the Advisory Committee's collaborative 
effort. Through a series of meetings held over an eighteen-month period, the 
committee debated the content and form of the publication and the critical 
steps and issues in each phase of the building process. The committee also 
reviewed outlines prepared with the assistance of Liza Broudy and, later, 
Jeffrey Cruikshank, as well as the results of a survey conducted with some 
twenty art museums across the country that had gone through or were in the 
midst of a building program. 2 Staff, trustees, consultants, engineers, archi- 
tects, construction managers, and contractors involved in these projects were 
interviewed in an effort to obtain an overview of the institutional experience 

as well as the individual (and not always concurring) perspectives of the 
various participants. The survey pool represented a cross section of size, 
complexity, and governance — from the large city museum undergoing a 
multiphase master plan supervised by staff with the assistance of outside 
consultants, to the small private museum where the motivating force and 
decision maker was the donor and where the staff remained isolated from the 

It was ultimately deemed most appropriate that the text be written by 
members of the Advisory Committee, and we are immensely grateful that 
Joan Darragh and James Snyder consented to take on this assignment. James 
Snyder took principal responsibility for writing Parts I and IV, and Joan 
Darragh for Parts II and III. These pairings underscore how the conceptual 
evolution of a project, beginning with its planning phase, can be fully realized 
only when the new space is occupied and how, similarly, the success of the 
construction phase of any project is linked inextricably to the success of the 
design phase that preceded it. The authors also engaged in a critical dialogue 
over each other's work, further enriching the explication of the process as a 

It is fair to say that while the preparation of this book has been an im- 
mensely informative experience for all involved, it has also been a time- 
consuming one. For better or for worse, it was a process that seems to have 
replicated that of its subject — having taken longer, been more complicated, 
and cost more than anything we anticipated! We believe, however, that the 
results will have been worth the effort and that the dissemination of this type 
of information will be helpful to museums considering expansion. While 
directed primarily to the art museum, this book, it is hoped, will be of 
assistance to all museums and to the various individuals on planning, design, 
and construction teams — not only the museum staff and trustees, but also 
the architects, construction managers and contractors, technical consultants, 
public officials, and donors. 

New museums have been among the most architecturally interesting 
buildings of the past few decades, having attracted some of the most talented 
and internationally recognized architects of our time. As a building type, the 
public museum dates back to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth cen- 
turies. Its origins in houses and palaces, where rooms were specifically de- 
signed to display works of art, are even earlier. Among the first museums to 
open to the public were the Capitoline Museum in Rome (1734), which was 
the first public gallery for the display of classical sculpture; the Museo Pio- 
Clementino, a series of galleries added to the Vatican between 1770 and 1786; 
the Musee du Louvre in Paris (1784-1792); and the Dulwich College Picture 
Gallery in London (1811-1814), designed by Sir John Soane. Perhaps the 
most influential source for museum architecture in the nineteenth century 

was J. L. Durand's designs for an art museum published in Precis des leqons 
d' architecture (1802-1805). Consisting of central courtyards and a rotunda 
surrounded by galleries with alternative solutions for gallery spaces, they 
served, most notably, as a model for Karl Friedrich Schinkel's masterpiece, 
the Altes Museum (1823-1830) in Berlin. This monumental two-story 
building with an imposing flight of steps served in turn as the inspiration for 
such masterpieces as the 1893 design by McKim, Mead & White for The 
Brooklyn Museum and, even as late as 1941, the National Gallery of Art in 
Washington, D.C.3 

The first art museum building boom in the United States, beginning in the 
latter part of the nineteenth century in response to centennial celebrations of 
American independence, was slowed only by the Great Depression of the 
1930s and the outbreak of World War II in 1940. This period saw the creation 
of such major institutions as the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (both in 1870); The Brooklyn 
Museum; the Saint Louis Art Museum (1879-1881); The Art Institute of 
Chicago (1893); the Palace of Fine Arts (1915) and the De Young Memorial 
Museum (1916), both in San Francisco; the Cleveland Museum of Art 
(1916); the Detroit Institute of Arts (1927); the Philadelphia Museum of Art 
(1919-1928); and the National Gallery of Art (1937-1941), as well as the 
construction of new buildings for the Walker Art Gallery, Bowdoin College, 
Brunswick, Maine (1892-1893); the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 
D.C. (1896); the Albright(-Knox) Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (1900- 
1905); and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1906-1909), almost all of 
which were conceived in the classical mode. This period was followed by the 
creation of such classic modernist masterpieces as The Museum of Modern 
Art (Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone, 1939); The Solomon R. 
Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1943 but not 
completed until 1959; and the Eliel Saarinen (1944-1948) wing at the Des 
Moines Art Center. 

The work of a new generation of architects appeared in the 1960s and 
1970s, in the completion of such indisputably important buildings as Philip 
Johnson's Munson- Williams-Proctor Institute in Utica, New York (i960), and 
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln 
(1963); I. M. Pei's Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York (1961- 
1969), and his addition to the Des Moines Art Center (1968); Marcel Breuer's 
Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1963-1966); the Walker 
Art Center in Minneapolis, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, Architect, 
FAIA, (1971); the University Art Museum in Berkeley (Mario J. Ciampi, 
1971); Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth (1972), and Yale 
Center for British Art in New Haven (1977), completed after his death; the 
East Building of the National Gallery of Art (I. M. Pei and Partners, 1978); 
and the execution of the first stages of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo's 
master plan for the expansion of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

The design of the American art museum has evolved from the nineteenth- and 
early-twentieth-century Beaux-Arts palace through a variety of modernist in- 
terpretations and possibly full circle in the form of )7iany recent, historically 
referenced variations. 

The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York. North facade, showing the surrounding 
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Prospect Park (McKim, Mead & White, 1893-1927). 
(Courtesy The Brooklyn Museum. Photo: Skyviews Survey, Inc.) 

The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri. North 
facade (Cass Gilbert, 1904). (Courtesy The Saint Louis Art 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Principal fagade 
(Goodwin and Stone, 1939). (Courtesy The Museum of 
Modern Art, New York. Photo: Wurts Brothers) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Principal facade (Frank Lloyd 
Wright, 1959). (Photograph copyright The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. 
Photo: Robert E. Mates) 


Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Principal facade (Louis Kahn, 1962) 
(Courtesy Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas) 

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York. North fagade (I. M. Pel & Partners, 
1968). (Courtesy Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, N.Y. Photo: Courtney Frisse) 

University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, California. Main entry 
(Mario Ciampi, 1971). (Courtesy University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 
University of California at Berkeley. Photo: Benjamin Blackwell) 

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas. West fagade (Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates, 
1984). (Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art. Photo: Scott Hagar, 1991) 


The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California. Principal entry (Arata 
Isozaki & Associates, 1986). (Courtesy The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los 
Angeles. Photo: Yasuhiro Ishimoto) 

The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas. East facade (Renzo Piano, Atelier Piano/Richard 
Fitzgerald & Associates, 1987). (Courtesy The Menil Collection. Photo: Hickey- 
Robertson, Houston) 


Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama. Principal facade 
(Barganier McKee Sims Architects Associated, 1988). (Courtesy Montgomery Museum 
of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama) 

Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. Principal 
fagade (Burlini/Silberschlag Ltd., 1989). (Copyright Center for Creative Photography, 
Arizona Board of Regents. Photo: Dianne Nilsen) 


During the 1980s, numerous museums opened new buildings, among them 
the Dallas Museum of Art (Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates, 1984); the 
Portland Museum of Art, Maine (Henry W. Cobb, I. M. Pei & Partners, 
1983); the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (Richard Meier, 1983); The Patrick 
and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee 
(Ford, Powell, & Carson/Kahler, Slater, Torphy, Engberg, 1984); The Menil 
Collection, Houston (Renzo Piano and Richard Fitzgerald, 1987); The Muse- 
um of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Arata Isozaki, 1986); the Arthur M. 
Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (James Stirling Michael 
Wilford and Associates, Chartered Architects); the Polk Museum of Art, 
Lakeland, Florida (Straughn Furr Associates, Architects, 1988); the Center 
for Creative Photography, Tucson (Burlini/Silberschlag Ltd., 1989); and the 
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama (Barganier McKee Sims Archi- 
tects Associated, 1988). There were also major new additions and/or renova- 
tions to the art museums at Princeton University (Mitchell/Giurgola Archi- 
tects New York, 1988), Emory University (Michael Graves, 1985), Williams 
College (Moore Grover Harper, 1987), and Dartmouth College (Charles W. 
Moore and Centerbrook Architects and Planners, 1985), as well as to The 
Museum of Modern Art, New York (Cesar PeUi & Associates, 1979-1984); 
The Saint Louis Art Museum (Smith-Enzeroth Inc., with Moore-Ruble- 
Yudell, 1987); the Des Moines Art Center (Richard Meier & Partners, 1985); 
the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, 
1987); The Art Institute of Chicago (Hammond, Beeby and Babka, Inc., 
1988); the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (Hardy Holzman 
Pfeiffer Associates, 1985); the Boise Art Museum, Idaho (Mark Mack/Trout 
Young, 1988); The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia (Hartman-Cox Ar- 
chitects, 1988); the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee (Skidmore, 
Owings & Merrill, 1989); and The Newark Museum, New Jersey (Michael 
Graves, 1989). And, most recently, Robert Venturi's new building for the 
Seattle Art Museum opened in downtown Seattle in the winter of 1991/1992. 

The expansion in museum architecture during this period has not been 
limited to the United States. Notable are James Stirling's wing for the Neue 
Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart (1984), the addition to the Museum fiir Kunsthand- 
werk, Frankfurt, by Richard Meier & Partners (1985), Hans Hollein's Muse- 
um fiir Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt (1991), Robert Venturi's addition to the 
National Gallery in London (1991), Moshe Safdie's new building for the 
National Gallery in Ottawa (1988), and Douglas Cardinal's Canadian Muse- 
um of Civilization (1990), also in Ottawa, to cite but a few. 

Designing an art museum is a challenging commission for an architect. It 
brings with it intense public and critical scrutiny. The resulting building is 
potentially a monument of public pride and civic rejuvenation that few other 
building types can rival. It may also be a cornerstone of the cultural profile of 
a university campus, a city, or a region. The commission is demanding 


because the art museum is very specifically designed for the needs and desires 
of a particular client (the building is usually occupied by only one institution) 
and because of the museum's complexity as a building type in terms of the 
exactness and sophistication of its mechanical systems and the high quality of 
finish demanded. In addition, there is relatively little consensus within the 
museum profession on such fundamental issues as natural light, fire suppres- 
sion, or security, or exact standards for such central concerns as proper 
humidity (i.e., tolerance limits), air movement and condensation control, or 
structural loads. This lack of consensus extends to virtually all aspects of the 
design of exhibition spaces — the height of ceilings, the size of galleries, types 
of lighting, and the choice of surface materials and use of color. 

In addition, while the primary mission of art museums to collect, preserve, 
present, and interpret works of art has changed little in the past loo years, 
there has been a fundamental shift in the programmatic and institutional 
objectives of museums in response to changing social, demographic, eco- 
nomic, and cultural forces. The definition of a museum in philosophical and 
programmatic terms has evolved from a place of quiet contemplation of works 
of art to one that encompasses social and commercial activities, scientific 
investigation, scholarly research, and educational programs, as well as the 
presentation of not only the visual arts but other art forms as well. In- 
creasingly, it is a place that must also be able to accommodate large crowds, 
providing not only adequate circulation space but also all the amenities neces- 
sary to serve the public. 

Despite these challenges, the art museum has remained a coveted commis- 
sion. As a building type, the museum focuses attention on architecture's dual 
nature, dramatizing the inherent tension between the needs of the user and 
the desire of the architect for an aesthetic statement. The challenge is "how to 
bring together the art of architecture and the art of art,"* providing a hospita- 
ble and physically interesting home for art, without the building as "object" 
rivalling the collections it houses and the functions it is supposed to perform. 

This tension is not necessarily unhealthy. If the museum as client has a 
clear understanding of its collections and long-term programming needs and 
of the museum design process, it can be a strong client — and later, owner — 
and assume the same level of responsibility as the architect for the success or 
failure of the building. Working together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, 
architect and client can, through a process of trial and error, refinement and 
adjustment, bring a balance to the conflict between image and needs, form 
and function. Renzo Piano, for one, welcomes this kind of dynamic dialogue. 
He describes good clients as very tough and sufficiently educated, articulate, 
and confident to engage in the game of Ping-Pong, to which he likens the 
give-and-take of the healthy architect-client relationship. 5 

This book stresses the importance of the planning process and the need for 
the museum as client to have a clear idea of its mission and objectives and to 


be able to articulate in very specific terms what it wants. Everything that 
follows depends on the success of the planning stage and the comprehen- 
siveness of the architectural program. Planning not only is time-consuming, 
but also demands intensive involvement on the part of staff. It is complicated 
socially and politically. It necessitates arriving at a consensus of how a muse- 
um envisions its future and the image it wishes to convey to the community 
and the art world at large. Managed well, the planning process can generate 
the kind of community, board, and staff endorsement necessary to help 
ensure the project's success. 

It is during this period that leadership generally emerges and a team is put 
in place to guide the building process to its conclusion. Inevitably, some 
members will change, but continuity is also necessary. This team helps to 
identify an in-house project director and implement a clearly understood 
decision-making process, including how decisions are conveyed to the staff. It 
is essential for someone to supervise the information flow and for people to 
know who should be informed and when, not only for staff morale but also 
for efficiency of operation. The museum's constituencies and neighbors and 
the political community must also be kept apprised of how the project is 
progressing. Managing the flow of information not only is crucial to good 
public relations, but also may prove critical to garnering support from various 
sectors in the community as the project develops. 

As the project team enlarges and the architects, construction manager (or 
contractor), outside technical consultants, engineers, and construction per- 
sonnel are identified, a clear communication network and management struc- 
ture must be set in place. As Thomas Beeby noted during one of the Advisory 
Committee discussions, construction historically has been an adversarial en- 
vironment in conflict, ideologically and economically, with each party think- 
ing it is the most significant member of the team. One way to avoid this 
situation is to define the responsibilities of each professional member of the 
team and then hold him or her to them. The word professional is stressed, for 
it is essential for the core project team of architect, construction manager or 
contractor, and client to work together with a common goal in an atmosphere 
of mutual respect and trust. Regularly scheduled meetings and oral and 
written documentation are also essential. If an adversarial relationship devel- 
ops among any of the primary participants, the project will suffer. 

During the planning phase, it is also important to understand the quantum 
leap that occurs in economic terms when a museum expands. Our survey 
showed how difficult it was for museums to grasp the financial implications of 
the changes that were to take place, particularly without a historical basis to 
make accurate projections for operating costs, programmatic activities, space 
needs, and staff size — the last being consistently underestimated. The finan- 
cial implications of sophisticated systems were also not well understood. 
Decisions made in relation to budget projections (and this can extend to 
responses to initial estimates of construction costs following the completion 


of the architectural program) are one example of what Stuart Silver referred 
to in the Advisory Committee meetings as "red flag," or milestone, decisions 
of particular importance. Decisions made at such critical junctures can affect 
the entire process that follows. 

The architectural program is the most important document to emerge from 
the planning phase, and it is the primary reference document for client and 
architect throughout the design and construction period. It should contain 
both a quantitative and a qualitative statement. The first is a technical docu- 
ment, including a clear description of space needs, programmatic activities, 
requirements of specific collections and support services and how they relate 
to one another, special access considerations for the physically impaired, and 
performance criteria for the various mechanical systems. Some of this tech- 
nical information is very difficult to gather, especially that related to security, 
heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and fire suppres- 
sion. Since technology changes so rapidly, discussions with colleagues are an 
essential means of keeping abreast of new developments. 

Repeatedly throughout the survey, museums spoke of problems with their 
mechanical and security systems and how important it was to have staff who 
were conversant in such areas. This need for technical understanding extends 
to such basic design and construction concepts and terms as "net to gross," or 
what one committee member referred to as "the dreaded net to gross." 
Coordination among the architect, mechanical engineers, and other technical 
consultants very early in the design process was also considered crucial. Paul 
Winkler, one of the survey participants, noted that the art museum is a 
highly technical machine, and if the mechanical necessities critical to its 
functioning are not properly addressed from the beginning, the aesthetic 
image that both the architect and the client wish to achieve can be impaired. 

The architectural program must also contain what The Menil Collection 
described as a "brief of ideas" explaining the philosophy of the museum, the 
image it wishes to project, and its conception of its programmatic role in the 
community. This qualitative statement should impart the museum's philoso- 
phy of how art should be seen and experienced. It need not be dry; rather, it 
can be an eloquent and compelling document providing the architect with a 
vision of the institution. While this information may also be intangible, it can 
be among the most valuable to be conveyed to the architect. It can be a series 
of declarative statements, such as "We want a response to art. We want a 
sympathetic environment for the public." Or it can be a more philosophical 
expression: the Getty Museum wished to emphasize the spirit of contempla- 
tion, beautiful light, and harmonious settings; The Menil Collection wished 
art to be the dominant presence in the building, where the primacy of the 
object would be stressed over didactic functions. Dominique de Menil also 
wanted a building with spaces sympathetic to art and human scale and in 
which there was an interplay of exterior and interior spaces and, very impor- 
tant, a contextual relationship to the older neighborhood of Houston. 


Many of those surveyed indicated that despite careful programming, the 
staff and the building team can get so involved in technical discussions and 
management issues that they lose perspective on the purpose of the project, 
and the works of art can become secondary or assumed. The accommodation 
of art — the primacy of displaying and handling art — should be stressed at 
every major stage, from developing the architectural program, through se- 
lecting the architect, to reviev^ing designs and models, and, finally, to placing 
the works of art in the building. Colin Amery, a British architectural critic, 
states this priority most eloquently in describing the search for an architect 
for the National Gallery in London: 

When we were looking at the short list of candidates to build the new 
wing, one of the things we wanted to discover from the prospective 
architects — and I think we succeeded in finding this out — was how they 
react to pictures, and how they want us to react to the museum's 
pictures when they're hanging in their new setting. After all, that's the 
most important thing. 6 

Planning must also extend into the occupancy period, which can be the 
most rewarding — and stressful — part of the whole long process. The team 
approach to the buildmg process should not stop with the purge of the last 
pipe and the laying of the last carpet. The survey revealed that staff were 
often inadequately prepared for the long shakedown period that most build- 
ings require. They were also not prepared for the logistical challenges of 
moving works of art, reinstalling collections, settling into new offices, and 
preparing for opening exhibitions and official ceremonies, all of which often 
took place under the glare of intense publicity. 

Last, in approaching a building project, there is also the human reality: the 
cost in time and emotion cannot be emphasized too strongly. The building 
process is implemented by people, and there are the inevitable disappoint- 
ments, delays, frustrations, successes and failures, conflicts of ego, and dif- 
ferences of opinion. Burnout and exhaustion may affect all involved. Patience, 
compromise, tolerance, and, above all, leadership become essential. If we were 
to cite one recurring theme in the survey in addition to the need for proper 
planning, it would be the importance of leadership and how crucial it is for 
the client team to give authority to one person. Day-to-day decision making 
is too cumbersome for a committee, especially during construction. Looking 
back on the renovation and expansion of The Newark Art Museum, Samuel 
Miller, the director of the museum, offered this advice: 

I think it is important for people to realize as they enter such a project 
that patience is, of course, essential. Whoever is in charge has got to 
totally believe in the project so that he or she can act as diplomat to 
handle all the frayed nerves; the resident psychiatrist to cope with 
periodic nervous breakdowns; and finally be a task master, cracking the 
whip to keep the whole thing going. ^ 


Frederick Nicholas, chairman of the Building Committee with a leadership 
role during the construction of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los 
Angeles, provided similar advice: "A strong leader is essential, one who is 
dedicated, capable, politically astute, demanding of performance, mean if they 
have to be but also respectful and nurturing of the various talents on the 
team, encouraging them to do their very best. "8 

In many ways this book represents the cumulative experience of the muse- 
um field for over a decade. It cannot answer or even pose every question, but 
it can alert the prospective museum client to the key issues, to the importance 
of adequate planning, to the critical path of communication and decision 
making, to the teamwork necessary, and to the human reality that, as one 
Advisory Committee member phrased it, "building expansion is simply a 
tough business involving the disruption of the entire institution." 

What is certain is that planning and constructing an art museum is a 
flexing, pulsating process: players and circumstances may change in 
midstream, and certain decisions and assumptions may have to be revisited. 
Institutions and individuals must be responsive to the possibility of frequent 
change and be prepared to compromise. What is also certain is that this is not 
a process that can achieve perfection. No two projects are alike, and there are 
no exact standards as to what makes a good art museum. There is no perfect 
building, but an informed and knowledgeable client ensures that the process 
will be well managed and, with luck, that the results will satisfy the needs of 
the three primary users: the works of art, the audience, and the professional 
staff. The purpose of this book is to help achieve this end. 


1. See, for example, Paul Goldberger, "What Should a Museum Building Be?" Artnews 
74 (October 1975): 37. A decade later, Grace Glueck commented that there was "growth in 
art facilities across the country that makes the building spree of the 1970s, once thought to 
be abated, look like a practice run" ("The Art Boom Sets Off a Museum Building Spree," 
New York Times, 23 June 1985, sec. 2, p. 1). 

2. For a list of the museums and the individuals who participated in the survey, see the 

3. See Helen Searing's excellent essay on the art museum as a building type, "The 
Development of a Museum Typology," in Building the New Museum, ed. Suzanne Ste- 
phens (New York: Architectural League of New York, 1985), pp. 14-23, and, for a discus- 
sion of the art museum in the United States, Searing, New American Art Museums (New 
York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1982), pp. 11-72. 

4. Colin Amery, "Selecting an Architect for the National Gallery," in Building the New 
Museum, p. 27. 

5. E. M. Farrelly, Peter Davey, and Charlotte Ellis, "Piano Practice: Picking up the 
Pieces and Running with Them," Architectural Review 171 (March 1987): 34. 

6. Amery, "Selecting an Architect for the National Gallery," p. 26. 

7. Samuel Miller to Joan Darragh, 18 September 1990. 

8. Frederick Nicholas, conversations with Nancy L. Pressly. 



During the past twenty-five years, there has been an extraordinary art 
museum building boom in the United States. The building of new museums 
and the expansion and rebuilding of existing museums have focused atten- 
tion on the nation's art museums, reflecting both a rising tide of popular 
enthusiasm for the country's cultural resources and an assertion by the art 
museum community of its rightful place in the nation's cultural heritage. 

Certain projects trumpeted the early phase of this phenomenon — flagships 
heralding the procession of new, revitalized, and expanded museum facilities 
that would follow in what has essentially become an institutional generation 
of new museum building. 

In the late i^6os. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York engaged 
the nationally prominent architectural firm of Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo 
and Associates to create, and over the succeeding twenty-five years to realize, 
an architectural master plan that would transform its grand but outdated and 
inadequately sized Beaux-Arts home into what would become during the 
i^8os one of New York City's highest attended tourist attractions and cer- 
tainly one of the hubs of the city's cultural and institutional life. 

In i^yo, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., announced the 
selection of I. M. Pei, an internationally recognized architect, to design its 
new East Building. Over the next eight years, its evolution became the focus 
of widespread public interest and attention as the National Gallery staff 
worked to achieve advanced professional and technical standards within a 
grand and architecturally distinctive envelope; ultimately they created a 
dazzling symbol of the nation's cultural eminence. 

Not that these two projects alone stimulated the boom of museum building 
that followed. Indeed, many other museums were concurrently embarking on 
projects of comparative ambition, reflecting nearly a century of growth in the 
collecting patterns and the professionalism and professional sophistication of 
American museums. However, the Met, as the largest art museum in the 
nation, and the National Gallery, as the nation's art museum, were ex- 
tremely visible, and they were easily exemplary. Their success drew immedi- 
ate and positive popular response, and that response seemed to signal a new 
and broad public enthusiasm for cultural enrichment. The demand triggered 
by this enthusiasm spread across the nation. In city after city, the need was 
recognized for new, expanded, and improved art museum facilities. Witness- 
ing the beneficial success of such developments, communities themselves 
could initiate efforts to build and rebuild their museums to benefit from the 
newly demonstrated magnetism of expanded cultural enterprise. Observing 
the achievements of their sister institutions, other museums could emulate 
new technical and professional standards that they might, in projects of their 
own undertaking, hope to meet or even surpass. The continuing success of 
projects across the country only stimulated ever-increasing interest and en- 


thusiasm, and the number of projects initiated and executed throughout the 
igSos did not abate. 

Will this pace continue? While conjecture may be pointless, it is appropri- 
ate to note that economic, governmental, and political changes nationwide 
and abroad can certainly affect such a trend. The close of the i^8os and the 
start of the i^^os have certainly suggested climatic changes that may slow 
new museum building. At the same time, the objective motivations for build- 
ing in a given city or region, anywhere in the nation, are likely to be far more 

New collections will be offered to existing museums that can commit 
themselves to the safe and appropriate care and keeping of these works only 
by renovating facilities or constructing new ones. Donors will offer funds to 
build facilities or the land on which to site them. Opportunities for mixed-use 
development may lead to joint-venture development to yield new cultural 
facilities. Cities or regions embarking on revitalization may identify museum 
or other cultural participation as central to their planning. While national 
and international economic and political trends may temporarily dampen the 
pace of expansion, these opportunities will continue to arise. 

An enormous volume of experience has been accumulated during the past 
generation of museum building, and it is the goal of this book to distill the 
lessons of that experience for the nation's next generation of museum 



WHILE THIS BOOK will attempt to address issues common to the 
building process for all art museums — old, new, and in be- 
tween — it may be helpful to begin by highlighting distinctions 
among them. 


In considering the museum-building process, the simplest organizational 
form is perhaps the new museum. Since it has no existing facilities and no 
previous home, it must begin at the beginning, and its motivation to build is 
clearly and simply to create a home. If a preexisting facility is available for its 
use, it can potentially be occupied in its existing form, but that is unlikely. It 
is far more likely that the new museum, blessed with an available existing 
facility, would be faced with one of two basic options: restoration or adaptive 

Restoration is the revitalization through careful refurbishment of existing 
structure and detailing that is of recognized architectural or historical signifi- 
cance. By its nature, restoration can limit the potential uses of an existing 
facility as an institutional home. On the other hand, the historical and archi- 
tectural significance of a restored facility can sometimes enhance the new 
museum. Adaptive reuse — a more likely and more flexible approach — is the 
modification and reconstruction of existing architecture to make it suitable 
for the purposes of a new occupant. In either case, the process documented in 
the following pages will be instrumental to the successful preparation of a 
preexisting building to house a new museum organization. 


should a new museum not have the opportunity to adapt an existing 
facihty, it must build from nothing, physically as well as organizationally. A 
new organization begins with the cleanest possible slate, free of the en- 
cumbrance of the preconceptions that invariably attach to a project initiated 
by an existing organization. And, with no physical or organizational history 
of its own, it must rely on the accumulated history of other institutions in the 
museum field for its base of experience. 


Given their individual histories, existing organizations must respond to a 
broader range of motivations and options for physical growth or change than 
that available to new museums. The museum may need to grow or change 
simply as a result of the physical condition — or physical constraints — of its 
existing facilities. On the other hand, in the course of organizational growth 

(a) An expansion plan, "Project for the Reconstruction of the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art in the Near Future," was published in Walter Pach's The Art Museum in America 
(1948). (b) More than forty years later, the museum is completing the master plan that 
evolved from its subsequent planning efforts, as shown in this aerial view taken in 
1982. ([a] Hugh Ferris, Drawing of Proposed Changes. All rights reserved. The 
Metropolitan Museum of Art. [b] Courtesy Pan: Image/Robert C. Schwartz) 


and development, it may form new or expanded goals that can be met only by 
re-forming, expanding, or creating altogether new space. 

The stimulus to change or grow may be internal: the professional staff may 
feel that it is constrained or that it cannot fulfill its professional obligations to 
the museum's collections and visitors. It may be that these physical con- 
straints are identified first by trustees or other governing authorities who 
perceive the limits of an organization's existing home. Or staff and trustees 
together may formulate future institutional goals that cannot be realized 
within the physical confines of an existing home. In all these cases, an 
existing organization's sense of its future needs will be based on its past 
experience and on the already realized potential of its existing facilities. 

Assuming an existing physical structure, a first option is renovation. In all 
cases, renovation consists of adapting existing structures for rehabilitated use. 
If a structure has architectural or historical significance, a further consider- 
ation is whether historic restoration is necessary, appropriate, or even desir- 

Should an existing facility simply lack sufficient area to accommodate 
existing or proposed programs and services, expansion may be the solution. 


Although connected below-grade. The National Gallery of Art, East Building (I. M. Pei 
& Partners, 1978) (upper center), presents architecturally a discrete, free-standing 
addition to the original West Building (John Russell Pope, 1941) (center). (Courtesy 
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) 

Expansion may entail the annexation of a new facility to an existing one that 
remains unchanged, or it may necessitate some adaptive reorganization of 
existing space that can easily pave the way for renovating existing facilities in 
concert with adjacent expansion. 

Last, an existing organization may determine that relocation to a new site 
is the most logical solution to its evolving needs, leading either to a search for 
facilities to be adapted for reuse or to an entirely new construction project at a 
new site. Although an existing museum can find itself in the same situation 
as a new organization, embarking on either the construction of a new facility 
or the rehabilitation of a facility that has been used for other purposes, there 
is one important distinction: the existing museum brings to the planning of 
new facilities its own accumulated experience. The new organization has no 





■ ,WiL ■ 


(a) The Jewish Museum, New York, which has occupied the landmark Warburg 
Mansion of 1908 (right) and the adjacent List Building Annex of 1962 (left), is 
currently undergoing an expansion and renovation for which the architectural solution 
is a replication of the Warburg Mansion's notable profile and detailing, (b) Rendering 
of the new Jewish Museum (Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates), ([a] Courtesy 
The Jewish Museum, [b] Courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates) 


The Des Moines Art Center shows a distinctive example of the architectural evolution 
of museum facilities, through expansions to its original Eliel Saarinen building of 
1944-1948, first by I. M. Pei in 1968 (a), and then by Richard Meier in 1985 (b). 
(Courtesy Des Moines Art Center) 


such experience and must look to the museum field as a whole to reap the 
benefit of its collective history. 


Any museum building project must spring firmly from a recognition and 
understanding of that museum's mission and purpose. The new museum 
organization must first formulate its mission and then decide on the needs 
that its new museum building will serve. The existing organization must 
assess and refine its mission and similarly decide how its needs can be met by 
renovation, expansion, or new construction. This effort initiates and then 
anchors any building planning process, whether for a new or an existing 
organization, whether in new or existing facilities. 

Next, external forces, among them community, local government, and 
special constituencies of all kinds, including elderly and disabled patrons, may 
identify needs and concerns that must be addressed in planning for new 
space. Sometimes these forces actually provide the impetus for planning a 
new museum. A community in the midst of revitalization or in search of a 
fresh regional identity may instigate plans for a new cultural facility. Special 
constituencies may urge that an existing cultural facility be renovated or 
expanded to meet the needs of a changing community or to rectify what they 
regard as a museum's shortcomings in fulfilling a community's existing 
needs — for example, in complying with federally mandated requirements for 
access for the disabled. 

Such external stimuli must be considered in context, as they must in any 
organization's planning for physical development. Building a museum is a 
process and must be managed as such. The conception of any project changes, 
is refined, and grows in response to a substantial volume of input from a 
variety of sources. However, what must always remain in sight and form the 
basis for decision making is an organization's underlying objectives for build- 


The present-day Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee, expanded its 
original building (James Gamble Rogers, 1915) (left), located in Frederick Law 
Olmsted's Overton Park, with a major new wing and Great Hall (Skidmore, Owings & 
Merrill, with Memphis project architects Askew, Nixon, Fergusen & Wolfe, Inc., 1989). 
(Courtesy Memphis Brooks Museum of Art) 

The text that follows outUnes the stages of this process in a manner that 
can be helpful to institutions embarking on building programs. The types of 
institutions may vary. The types of projects that they undertake tech- 
nically — whether renovation, expansion, or new construction — may vary. 
But the considerations that should be made to help ensure success are essen- 
tially the same. 

There are other aspects of a museum's organization and management that 
will warrant some degree of consideration. One is form of governance, a 
factor that has tremendous impact on the decision-making process. Museum 
organizations are either publicly or privately governed, and they are either 
independent or under the auspices of a university or some other larger 
organizational authority. A museum's land and buildings may be owned by 
the museum itself, by a city or other public authority, by a university, or by 
some other public or private body. These governance and ownership distinc- 
tions are critical, since they will determine the breadth of the cast of charac- 
ters involved in the decision making that will shape a given project, and they 


will dictate which authorities' approvals may be required, whose regulations 
need to be met, and whose constituencies need to be heard. 

Also, all projects are conducted either as single-phase undertakings or as 
multiple-phase efforts that may be part of a larger plan — a master plan — 
envisioned over a long term. This distinction affects how a project's design is 
undertaken and establishes a horizon that may or may not suggest differing 
approaches to project management. 



EVERY MUSEUM MUST BEGIN the planning process for new facilities with a 
review of its mission. The conceptual cornerstone of any building plan- 
ning process, the mission statement (or statement of purpose) is a 
concise articulation of a museum's goals and objectives, formed at its origin 
and preserved throughout its existence — preserved, but never static, since it 
must always reflect and respond to organizational growth or change. The 
outset of a new building planning process is a critical moment for reviewing a 
museum's mission, with the objective of forming it afresh (for a new organi- 
zation) or affirming it or re-forming it (for an existing museum). 

Having assessed — or reassessed — its mission, a museum at the start of 
planning for new facilities then moves to determine what is needed to fulfill 
the goals of the newly affirmed mission. The needs analysis may at this stage 
be a general statement with little in the way of quantifiable criteria, but it 
offers the basis for building a consensus among relevant parties about what 
may one day become a plan for an actual building. 

After analyzing its critical needs, a museum then turns to a consideration 
of available resources, both exploitable resources (such as property rights, 
financial assets, and volunteer supporters), which can be instrumental in 
achieving needs, and resources that are to be nurtured by the realization of a 
building plan (among them its collections and professional staff). This re- 
source analysis is most effective when it is conducted as part of a museum- 
wide long-range-planning effort, which also becomes critical at this stage. A 
long-range plan enables a museum to look at the implications, both fiscal and 
programmatic, of exploiting existing and prospective resources to achieve 
identified needs. Priorities can then be set for those needs, and what is 


actually required to achieve them can be explored both financially and opera- 

These steps precede a formal building planning process, and indeed they 
represent in many respects the kind of long-range planning for future devel- 
opment that many museums strive to pursue regularly. What follows in a 
particular building planning process is to articulate a formal program state- 
ment, specifying a particular set of building needs, and then to proceed to 
develop the architectural program that will be the basis for planning and 
designing the corresponding museum facilities. 

This process entails a significant investment of time, which necessitates the 
commitment of professional, volunteer, and financial resources. Some of the 
phases described here can and should be undertaken by professional staff and 
board members. Others may require outside professionals or representatives 
of special-interest groups. All phases require the committed participation of 
those involved and a willingness to engage in planning exercises that must 
lead to consensus on issues important to a museum's future. Executing these 
steps successfully forces a keen awareness of process, which can itself be 
beneficial. Further, it can stimulate a level of self-awareness that enhances 
the formation of a unified future vision and can, in turn, solidify the lead- 
ership needed to achieve that vision. 


The mission statement is an organization's first conceptual building block, 
forming the basis for its subsequent analysis and determination of needs. The 
mission statement can be simple: "the display on a temporary and rotating 
basis of contemporary works of art by regional artists." It can be general: "to 
help the public understand and enjoy the visual arts of contemporary times." 
It can be specific: "to assemble a collection of artifacts of Native American 
culture for interpretive display and to organize related educational program- 
ming for school-age children." 

For a new organization, such a statement must then trigger a series of 

1. What kinds of programs will be planned to carry out the organiza- 
tion's stated purpose? 

2. What kinds of audiences — and in what numbers and with what ages, 
abilities, and levels of perception — will these programs be intended 
to serve? 

3. What other ancillary services will be provided to accommodate these 

4. What are the special requirements of the region from which these 
audiences are drawn? 


5- What level of staffing will be needed to organize these programs and 
to manage them and the services and facilities needed to implement 

6. What resources will be needed to sustain these programs and ser- 
vices, and how can they be assured? 

By raising and answering these kinds of questions, even informally, one 
begins to build the theoretical frame of an organization's new home. 

Since a new organization lacks a historical frame of reference, it must turn 
elsewhere for the wherewithal to posit needs and translate them into objec- 
tive requirements for space and facilities. At later stages, when these require- 
ments must become technically and quantifiably precise, professional as- 
sistance may be necessary and appropriate. At this stage, the best source of 
counsel for a new organization is likely to be sister institutions — both those 
that have a similar mission, regardless of their geographic proximity, and 
those that have a different purpose, but are nearby and may be serving similar 
constituencies. The pool of sister museums can in all cases be an extremely 
valuable resource. Museums may build only once within a given professional 
generation, so the experience garnered during the construction process may 
not have subsequent value for that organization itself, but it can be especially 
helpful for other newly forming museums, as well as for all museums em- 
barking on new construction. 

An existing museum presumably has a precise and defined mission that has 
over time formed the basis for its programming and for the development of 
its facilities. As it contemplates expansion or new construction, the museum 
must therefore consider its mission and either reaffirm it or revise it. While it 
remains critically important, as with a new organization, to ask afresh the 
questions about program, audience, service, staffing, and accommodation, the 
answers for the existing museum can be developed in relation to existing 
programs and facilities. 

Determining the specific leadership hierarchy for decision making is critical 
at this early stage. Identifying the specific players for a given project and 
establishing hierarchical organization among them are essential to defining a 
procedure for decision making and assuring the identity of the project's 
leaders from the earliest stages. 

As any project evolves, different people are key at different stages. And yet, 
from the very outset, certain players are essential, and they ideally remain 
constant throughout. In the best case, the individuals themselves are con- 
stants. When this is not possible, their roles must be so. This core group is 
necessarily composed of the museum's professional director, those designated 
by the director to be responsible for future planning, other representatives of 
the professional staff who can speak knowledgeably about professional issues, 
and a representative or representatives of the museum's governing authority. 


If governments or other umbrella authorities, such as universities, play a 
formal role in the museum's governance, they, too, are typically represented. 

Again, it should be emphasized that a group such as this is a core group. It 
will grow and shrink as needed during a project's life, and its precise forma- 
tion will vary from institution to institution. However, it must always reflect 
a museum's leadership, both professional and volunteer, and its continuity is 
important, since much time will elapse between the first theoretical glimpse 
of a new or revised mission and the completion of a fully realized museum 
facility. It must also always reflect the knowledge and understanding of a 
museum's professional staff. 

Recognizing these criteria for a project's core organization is key at the 
outset, since, over any project's life, many players may temporarily oversee 
stages of its growth and development. However, once completed, a new or 
renewed museum belongs to itself — to its board and to the professionals 
responsible for its operation. Establishing that sense of ownership at the 
outset, and reinforcing it throughout, will ensure that it remains intact when 
a project ends. At that point, a museum either begins or resumes functioning, 
and the volunteer and professional leadership that takes it forward must be at 
one with the leadership that has seen to its realization. 

A practical corollary to the question of who the core players are is that of 
how to establish a decision-making hierarchy among them. What is essential 
is that there be a decision-making hierarchy. From the refinement or new 
articulation of the museum's mission through the execution of a project's last 
details, it must be possible to know where and how a decision on any matter is 
to be made (Fig. i). Again, as a project evolves, the pool of participants grows 
and shrinks, grows again and shrinks again, making it all the more important 
that such a hierarchy be clear. Technically a museum's governing body has 
responsibility for all decisions affecting its operation and its well-being, and 
the authority to make such decisions typically is delegated to individual board 
officers or members, to the professional director, or to the director's staff. The 
way in which this responsibility for decisions is delegated varies among 
institutions, and it is therefore not possible to outline an optimal approach. 
There can be a formalized process practiced by a committee of identified 
players or a simple delegation of authority. And the method of delegation can 
operate differently for different levels of decision making. 

Last, for both the new museum and the existing one, it is crucial, even in 
the initial planning stage, to be attentive to community issues that will 
significantly affect the identification of institutional needs. Like an institu- 
tion's mission itself, which must be formed, affirmed, or revised as part of the 
initial assessment, community issues must be assessed. The new organization 
identifies and defines its community and discerns how its mission conforms 
with the desires of that community. The existing museum examines how the 
community has been served in the past, in what ways the community is 








Figure i. Project-planning organization. 

changing, and to what extent the community's desires can and should be 
accommodated by the museum's evolving program. In all cases, changing 
demographics are an important consideration, since a museum's new facilities 
must be planned to serve communal needs for many years to come. If a 
museum's planning is sensitive to its community and if the community is 
made aware early on of the museum's desire for future involvement with 
community, then an important opportunity exists for the community to have 
a growing sense of ownership and participation in the realization of the 
museum's future. Where much in planning a museum building springs from 
within the museum's internal organization, whether existing or newly evolv- 
ing, community is a major external force never to be overlooked. 


Hard upon the consideration of mission follows the first assessment of what 
is needed to fulfill that mission. Simple as it seems, the assessment of needs is 


in fact a complex step. It requires galvanizing the cast of characters outlined 
earlier to achieve the preliminary consensus that must precede any further 
planning. Without developing such a consensus at this stage, a museum 
cannot hope to bring a project successfully to its conclusion. 

A needs assessment is literally an analysis of what an organization needs. 
It can begin as nothing more than a statement of physical requirements. This 
statement may be motivated by programmatic constraints, needs, or desires. 
It may be formulated by curatorial staff working within the constraints of an 
existing organization's physical facilities and shaped in part by the needs of 
patrons and visitors who, by virtue of age or disability, cannot use existing 
facilities. Or it may be motivated by financial needs or constraints, and it 
may reflect a financial analysis of an existing or a proposed new facility which 
indicates that a certain physical scale of operation is required to stimulate a 
viable fiscal operation. 

A museum that has outgrown its collection or temporary exhibition space 
can assess an incremental need for gallery space in relation to existing spaces. 
If its collecting patterns are changing and it is increasing its involvement with 
new or different mediums, these shifts can dictate needs relating to physical 
scale or other technical requirements for incremental gallery spaces. A muse- 
um that is adding a film or performance program needs an auditorium or a 
performance space. A museum that is contemplating the addition of a food- 
service operation to generate revenue, to serve an existing audience, or to 
attract a new one needs a restaurant. A new organization, though, cannot 
develop its sense of future needs on the basis of any comparisons with current 
physical or operational constraints. It must look to its incipient leadership 
and to its sister institutions in developing this first critical step. 

The needs assessment necessarily engages members of the core group, since 
their consensus and endorsement will be critical. Initiating this process may 
also be the first opportunity to engage more broadly the museum's profes- 
sional staff. The director may by this time have delegated the planning 
responsibility to a senior staff member (for these purposes to be identified 
hereafter as the project director), or such a role may already exist in some 
museums in which responsibility for planning is formally delegated. At this 
stage, and on the basis of a new or recast mission statement, professional 
departments should be asked to articulate future needs. A formal survey or 
informal meetings and discussions can be used to generate an expression of 
needs at all levels of the museum's operation. It should also be made clear 
that this is a first assessment of future needs and requirements, disregarding 
physical or financial constraints and assembled before these needs are as- 
signed priorities. 

The objective of this initial assessment is to introduce the staff to the idea 
of planning to meet future needs and to stimulate creative thinking in this 
area. It is important to note that this is not necessarily a simple task, since 


staff can be as much constrained by the routines of existing programs and 
facihties as challenged by the prospect of new environments in which to 
expand and improve them. 


One way to stimulate thinking about needs is to couple it with an analysis of 
resources, since, as a museum begins to consider what it will build, it must 
also focus equally on the resources that will support its construction plan- 
ning. These resources fall into two categories: resources to be nurtured 
through the reaUzation of a building plan and resources to be exploited in 
accomplishing it. 

Nurturable Resources 

Resources meant to be nurtured by the accomplishment of a building plan are 
those that any new building program must be geared to serve and that 
therefore must be given full consideration in the first formulation of needs. 
Building programs quickly take on lives of their own as they get under way 
and as they progress through design and construction. Along the way, it is 
not uncommon for a project's underlying goals — philosophical as well as 
programmatic, organizational, and functional — to become subordinated to 
more immediate concerns, such as making deadlines, effecting targeted 
budget reductions, or expediting construction schedules. While the urgency 
of such issues is not to be overlooked, it is also absolutely essential that an 
organization not at any stage forget the project's underlying objectives. A 
clear reckoning, from the outset, of the institutional resources that are 
intended to be strengthened by the accomplishment of a building plan can be 
a basis for establishing priorities throughout a project's life. 


While all museums are chartered differently, most, if not all, are formed as 
repositories for artifacts of material culture, charged first and foremost with 
responsibility for the care and safekeeping of collections. Existing museums 
may have well-developed collections, together with mandates to expand or 
improve them. New museums may be the beneficiaries of collections and 
may similarly be mandated to see to the growth and strengthening of new 
collections. Both existing and new museums may be charged solely with the 
care and safekeeping of a static body of collection material. 

At the core of nearly every museum's purpose, collections are an essential 
resource, the strengthening of which must be key to its objectives. Further, in 
the case of collections, the relevant planning issues are not solely philosoph- 


ical and programmatic. Rather, they can be among the most physically and 
technically precise criteria that must be considered in any planning process. 
In addressing the care of its collections, a museum is therefore necessarily 
addressing issues of handling, storage, installation, environment, and life and 
safety. These issues are central to the formal development of a project's 
architectural program and will also affect most directly the extent to which a 
new building can nurture a museum's collections. 

Programs and Services 

A museum's ongoing programs and services are another key resource to be 
strengthened through new building. They include the full array of collection 
programs and services, exhibitions, library and research activities, film and 
performing-arts programs, and other public programs and amenities. As the 
manifestation of a museum's mission, they, too, must be evaluated, affirmed 
or modified, and perhaps expanded in the course of considering the oppor- 
tunities inherent in planning a new building. Since programs and services are 
presumably well identified in the minds of a museum's constituencies, their 
future in the context of a new building plan may be key to retaining the 
loyalty and support of those constituencies. 


The professional staff is, of course, a resource of paramount significance, with 
its collective knowledge and history of a museum's collection development 
and management practices, reflecting the level and professionalism of its 
programs and services. No one knows better the limitations of a museum's 
facilities or programs than those who have been obliged to work within their 
constraints. The planning stage is therefore the time to clarify the scope of 
the staff's responsibilities and to engage staff members fully with the plan- 
ning process. They will be obliged to live through the planning, design, and 
construction of a museum project, and, upon conclusion, both to maintain 
past standards and to exploit the potential of new facilities to enhance collec- 
tion practices and strengthen programs and services. 

New building planning is often an opportunity for introducing changes or 
improving standards that an existing museum's staff may not readily appre- 
ciate. Outside experts may be needed to help staff members understand 
both what a new building can accomplish for them and how it can be exploited 
by them. However, this should be considered part of the nurturing pro- 
cess, rather than any reason to diminish the importance of the staff as a 

An important consideration in this context is to assess the physical abili- 
ties — and limits on physical ability — of the staff. As enforcement mecha- 
nisms for accessibility requirements become increasingly effective, it cannot 
be assumed that all future staff will be able-bodied, so planning for full 
accessibility is key to ensuring the unlimited utilization of staff as a resource. 



While it may seem obvious, both existing faciUties and those to be newly 
created need to be considered as nurturable resources. Existing facilities fall 
into this category for several reasons. First, whether new or old, existing 
museum buildings are symbols of institutional and, in many cases, civic 
pride. Not all are literally the Beaux-Arts productions of earlier museum 
generations in the United States, but even such disparate architectures as the 
Guggenheim Museum in New York and the High Museum in Atlanta exude 
the institutional and civic force and forcefulness of their Beaux-Arts anteced- 
ents. In more mundane terms, they also offer a basis on which to judge what 
works physically and what does not. They provide concrete examples of 
physical limitations, and they can serve, in effect, as testing laboratories for 
methods, details, technologies, and the like. And if a project involves restora- 
tion, rehabilitated use, or the expansion of existing premises, then these 
facilities literally are the resource around which a building plan is to be 
developed, so that the scrutiny and cultivation of existing buildings can be 
enormously important. 

Newly created facilities must from the outset be considered as nurturable 
resources that will, by definition, provide the setting for a museum's future 
programs and services. They will also fulfill the operating potential that the 
museum, by studying its physical needs in the context of its future objectives 
for program development and financial stability, will expect from its new 
facilities — ranging from program offerings and architectural environments 
that will stimulate attendance and membership participation, through book- 
stores and restaurants to generate revenue, to technologically advanced oper- 
ating systems that can effect cost savings. 

In considering facilities as resources, museums can begin to recognize the 
importance of proper maintenance, repair, and replacement to both new facil- 
ities planning and longer-term operational planning. Museum buildings, like 
all others, have a useful life beyond which they cannot perform effectively 
without concerted attention being given to maintenance, repair, and replace- 
ment. Traditionally, many museums have not been well enough funded to 
provide what may have seemed, in the past, to be the luxury of an available 
budget for these purposes. Indeed, the astonishing level of new museum 
construction in the United States over the past two decades has been occa- 
sioned in no small part by the need to replace the worn-out museum build- 
ings of earlier decades. 

If museums force themselves to allocate funds for this purpose on an 
annual basis, by recognizing the need to nurture their buildings (whether 
new or old), the new construction projects of the future can focus increasingly 
on programmatic and functional issues and less on urgently needed physical 
replacement. And, in the interim, facilities can function fully as the resources 
they are intended to be. 



Repeated reference has been made to the constituencies from whom the 
museum must ehcit guidance and support and for whom it provides its 
facihties, programs, and services. Together, they represent the last nurturable 
resource for consideration here, to be cukivated throughout the planning for 
new facilities. A museum charged with the care and safekeeping of collections 
does so for the benefit of its visitors, both its general public and its specialized 
constituencies. Its programs and services are provided primarily for its vis- 
itors, whose needs its facilities must accommodate. Visitors can be effective 
indicators of the limits of existing facilities and can form the core of an 
expanded pool of future visitors to new facilities. 

In considering the legal and regulatory requirements of government and 
the local community in developing new building plans, the special-interest 
sectors of a museum's audience, among them disabled and elderly patrons, 
can also be an effective resource for information about what has and has not 
worked in the past, and what will and will not meet the future needs of 
constituent groups. 

Exploitable Resources 

With a very few exceptions, museums typically have had at their disposal 
relatively few exploitable resources that have the potential to contribute 
significantly to the successful realization of a project. They can also influence 
the form a project takes — in its organization or financing or, more literally, 
physical development — and must therefore be considered at the outset, as 
needs are being determined. Those resources that do exist must be cultivated 
with care, and special care must also be taken to ensure that less traditional 
resources are not overlooked. The wave of museum construction and expan- 
sion during the past two decades has yielded a range of innovative methods 
for making better use of traditionally valuable or not so valuable resources. 

Board and Volunteer Leadership 

One must begin by recognizing the value of an organization's board and 
volunteer leadership. This group often represents a community's deepest 
commitment to the organization, being made up of individuals who can bring 
to the organization a range of skills, experiences, and connections that consid- 
erably expand its own internal resources. These may include specifically 
applicable professional skills in project development, construction manage- 
ment, and real estate. They most certainly will include ties to organizations 
and individuals outside a museum's own family, which will be important as 
the museum considers external obligations and if, as its planning evolves, it 
requires the endorsement and support of its community. Board and volunteer 
leaders play a significant role in any fund raising, particularly when a special 


The influences of urban siting and mixed-use development potential are exemplified by 
the evolution of the architecture of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, (a) Its 
1939 building by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone turned its back on the 
Beaux-Arts traditions of earlier American museums and presented an understated 
facade to its distinctly urban street setting, (b) The museum's 1984 expansion by Cesar 
Pelli, incorporating the mixed-use component of a contiguous, privately developed 
residential tower, doubled the length of its street-front presence, (c) The expansion also 
provided for the integration of its central garden element, originally designed by Philip 
Johnson in 1953, with its expanded facilities and the adjacent residential tower. 
(Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photos: [a] Wurts Brothers; [b] 
Adam Bartos) 

effort is mounted for a building campaign. In all these areas, board leadership 
becomes crucial to a project's success and can only be helpful in achieving 
building objectives. 

Local Alliances 

Cultural, political, financial, and legal alliances within a museum's communi- 
ty, either through formal associations or simply through the network of 
community involvement, are an essential resource. Regardless of whether a 
project is developed by a private or a public museum, involving privately or 



publicly owned land and facilities, it acquires at some stage a public profile in 
its community and is therefore subject to public scrutiny. In this regard, for 
example, the passage in 1990 of the Americans with Disabilities Act means 
that any disabled person can bring suit against a place of public accommoda- 
tion, such as a museum, for failure to provide access. Working toward a 
consensus with local disability groups early on can help avert such problems. 


In general, the importance of consensus building, internally and exter- 
nally, publicly and privately, in support of an organization's building plan- 
ning will continue to be stressed throughout this discussion. What is relevant 
here is the paramount significance of local alliances as a resource to be mined 
from a project's earliest stages. 

Financial Assets 

An organization's financial assets, and its capacity to generate them, are a key 
resource. Traditionally, funding for building programs has been secured in a 
limited number of ways. A handful of particularly well-endowed museums 
may simply have unrestricted funds available for construction. More typ- 
ically, a museum's professional and volunteer leadership organizes a fund- 
raising campaign to tap its own and its community's giving potential, using a 
building program as the impetus for such efforts. Publicly owned museums 
may also have the option of supplementing such efforts through the capital- 
funding budgets of their local governing authorities. 

During the past twenty years, with the dramatic rise in museum building 
projects in this country, museum organizations have grown more innovative 
in their use of other forms of financing and have exploited existing financial 
assets or fund-raising potential in a somewhat different manner: they have 
been able increasingly to look to public authorities to issue tax-exempt fi- 
nancing to fund building projects, secured by existing unrestricted funds, by 
pledges to fund-raising campaigns in progress, or by an organization's operat- 
ing revenues. Whereas universities and hospitals have long used existing or 
anticipated financial assets to secure other forms of financing, museums have 
only recently begun to do so. The list is long and ranges from The Museum 
of Modern Art to the Dallas Museum of Art, from the Museum of Fine Arts 
in Boston to the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida. 

Colleagues in the Professional Network 

As more museums in the United States have had the experience of building 
new facilities, the museum community itself has become a remarkable re- 
source, and no museum should undertake a building program without ex- 
ploiting it to the fullest. Problems and particulars may differ in their specif- 
ics; but the overriding concerns of museums as operating organizations that 
store and display collections and receive and serve the public are the same, 
ana the accumulated experience of the field is invaluable. 

Site and Property Rights 

Perhaps in no other category have museums grown more resourceful in 
recent years than in the utilization of real estate and related property rights 
for the benefit of their own physical growth. Examples abound from around 
the country of instances in which museums have been able to utilize the value 
of property or property rights they own or control to provide the wherewithal 


to expand, build, or rebuild facilities. In New York, The Museum of Modern 
Art entered in 1979 into a real-estate transaction through which it transferred 
unused development rights for sale to a private developer, realizing a $17 
million gain in its unrestricted funds and providing the impetus for the 
financing and construction of a major expansion and renovation program. In 
Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art came into being through 
the commitment of a private developer to allocate land and construct a muse- 
um facility as part of the terms of an urban-redevelopment transaction under 
the aegis of that city's Community Redevelopment Authority. 

The particulars of the many stories such as these are fascinating in the 
details of their execution. But what matters in each case is that the museum 
was able to utilize the value of the property on which it sits or proposes to sit, 
whether privately or publicly owned. 

The potential benefits of site and property rights also bring with them 
related concerns. For example, opportunities to participate in new develop- 
ment can involve site issues that are controversial. Location, uses of con- 
tiguous property, mandated design criteria, and other site restrictions are 
only a few of the site-related issues that can engage museums in controversial 
and therefore potentially protracted and publicly visible situations. While 
such issues should not prevent a museum from pursuing significant benefits, 
it is also important to recognize potentially offsetting disadvantages. 


A museum's own existing facility — or a new museum's prospective facility, if 
it is an existing site — may be an exploitable resource. It may be a historic 
building or a landmark site, with significant potential for restoration. It may 
have signature value for a particular community or constituency that can be 
realized in the form of community endorsement or financial support. 

To understand the potential and the limitations of existing facilities, it may 
also be useful at this preliminary stage to commission an engineer's report to 
understand their condition and to uncover any compliance issues relating to 
health, safety, and access for the disabled that would have to be addressed as 
part of any subsequent plan development. 

It is important to note that while the focus here has been on the potential 
benefit to be derived from exploiting and cultivating resources, existing re- 
sources can also represent limits that must be reckoned with realistically in an 
effective planning process. The prospect of a cold shower of reality should 
never be wholly forgotten during deliberations; in this regard, reckoning 
realistically with the limits of a museum's resources can be a very useful 
exercise. There are physical limits to any given site. There are financial limits 
to the philanthropic capacity of a museum's supporters. There may be dis- 





The Museum of Modern Art's evolution in response to an urban context compares 
with the more recent story of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 
California, which was born of the desire to include a significant cultural component in 
a major downtown redevelopment plan. (Courtesy The Museum of Contemporary Art. 
Photos: [a] Squidds & Nunns; [b] Tim Street-Porter; [c] John Eden) 



The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, evidences new museum 
design responding directly to its urban context, with retail shops incorporated into its 
street-level facades. (Courtesy Yale Center for British Art. Photo: Tom Brown) 

tinct limits to the extent to which certain kinds of collections and certain 
forms of programming can be developed. Nonetheless, the recognition that 
such limits exist is intended not to cool the enthusiasm with which a museum 
undertakes a building project, but to ensure that its planning ultimately does 
not stray from the reality of what is feasible. 


At this stage, an informal, museumwide assessment of future needs is well 
under way, perhaps accompanied by an analysis of the resources just de- 
scribed. Since these expressions of needs are neither edited nor assigned any 


order of priority, they are as likely to represent desires as needs. They are 
likely to be disparate, redundant, and possibly even contradictory. Nonethe- 
less, the objective has been to stimulate informal and creative thought, rather 
than to solidify a singular conclusion. This process has been successful if it 
has engaged the museum internally and if it contains the kernels of what may 
eventually become formalized as the program for a particular museum build- 
ing project. 

It is possible, although not essential, to attempt to summarize a museum's 
process thus far in an informal statement of need, based on its consideration 
of its mission and its unedited needs assessment in light of any and all 
existing resources. This exercise can highlight the extent to which a museum 
is undergoing institutional self-assessment as a first step toward new muse- 
um planning. It does not, however, take into consideration significant long- 
range issues. 

Since every judgment that is made in assessing a museum's mission and its 
needs affects its future operations, no building planning process should pro- 
ceed without the concurrent development of a related long-range plan. A 
long-range plan provides the context for considering the future implications 
of physical planning to meet physical needs. This context should be estab- 
lished early, when the museum begins assessing its physical needs. It should 
then be examined regularly throughout the building planning process, so that 
the museum can determine at an early stage the operational and financial 
consequences of decisions about physical space and the programs and services 
that various areas are intended to house. 

Physical planning is planning for change. Successful physical planning 
yields at its conclusion a new physical reality with resounding implications 
for an organization's future operation. Considering physical growth in the 
context of a full-scale, long-range plan enables an organization to anticipate 
change and the implications of change in every aspect of its operation. Where 
the process of assessing needs looks to the past and the present, such consid- 
erations can then be expanded for the purposes of long-range planning. 

Programs and services. What programs and services, both curatorial and 
educational, will be provided in a new, newly expanded, or newly renovated 
or restored facility? Are these an extension of existing programs and services, 
or are they new? 

Staffing. What staffing will be required to create these programs and ser- 
vices? What staffing will be required to produce and operate them? 

Audience. What audience or audiences will these programs and services be 
designed to reach? Are these new or existing audiences? What are their 
characteristics, and how will these change over time in light of shifting 
demographics? What staffing will be required to reach them and then to serve 
them? Is this existing or new staffing? 


Operating implications. What is entailed in operating, maintaining, 
powering, and securing the new faciUties that will house these programs and 
services? What are the related new and/or incremental staffing require- 

Financial implications. What are the new or incremental costs associated 
with achieving the levels of programming activity outlined earlier? What are 
the financial implications? What are a particular organization's objectives for 
its bottom line? What are the revenue opportunities, either new or incremen- 
tal, associated with the levels of programming, service, and operation outlined 

Fund-raising implications. What kinds of endowment and operating sup- 
port goals must be established to enable an organization to use new facilities 
and to achieve desired levels of programming and service within financially 
responsible parameters? What is entailed in determining the feasibility of 
these goals? 

Government and community concerns. How do government and commu- 
nity concerns and responsibilities affect planning in all of the above areas? 
What are the special requirements for physical accessibility? Are there obliga- 
tions for certain levels of community participation? What is the composition 
of the community as a whole, and are special audiences or constituencies to be 

The questions are many and substantial, and much discussion could be 
devoted to each. The point here is to emphasize that this range of questions 
should be raised from the outset: the first assessment of needs should stimu- 
late thinking about all these other considerations and can, in the process, 
trigger effective long-range planning. 

Such a process may not be neat, and it may be composed of a number of 
separate but related parts. However, it should always involve the leadership 
group described earlier, and it should always recognize that, from the very 
start of a building planning process, there are reverberations that affect all 
aspects of an organization's future operation. To the extent that such an effort 
is effective during the course of a building program, it can also become a tool 
for first forecasting and then measuring an organization's ongoing perfor- 
mance, and it can reinforce strongly the notion that the theory of an early 
physical planning effort does one day become the reality of a new, renewed, 
or expanded museum operation. 




OUR DISCUSSION UNTIL NOW has been about laying the groundwork 
for a building planning process. It has been about institutional self- 
assessment and about putting in place certain mechanisms for eval- 
uating past and present in the context of future. It has also been about 
galvanizing professional and board leaders and staff and volunteer partici- 
pants, sensitizing them to physical-planning issues, and beginning to engage 
them in considering future needs. 

What follows will describe the steps from the broad and informal assess- 
ment of needs and resources to the first formal stage of a museum's building 
project: the making of an architectural program. First, it is important to 
underscore two essential criteria that will ultimately be key to a given proj- 
ect's success: formation of vision and solidification of leadership. 

First, an organization must have or form a vision of its future needs, 
determined by now from the consideration or reconsideration of its mission. 
Its clarification of that mission will provide the foundation for a particular 
building plan. In the course of a building project, many distractions can arise. 
Pressures invariably build on many fronts. Time, financial constraints, and 
conflicting objectives can divert an organization's planning from its underly- 
ing goals if a clear vision of those goals is not always firmly in place. 

Second, it is equally important that project leadership be securely in place 
in order to ensure that this vision forms and that it prevails during the rigors 
of the building process. Professional, board, and volunteer leadership must 
guide a project throughout its life, endorsing its vision, eliciting support for it, 
mining and enriching its resources, and fully realizing its vision in the com- 
pleted building. It is essential that the communication network, initiated 


tentatively and perhaps informally earlier, be put in place securely as the 
leadership moves from the consideration of needs and resources to the devel- 
opment of a particular project's scope. 

Internally, this communication network must ensure that the professional 
leadership can use the experience and expertise of the professional staff. 
Externally, it must apprise constituents of a project's development and gauge 
levels of support. Both internally and externally, responsiveness is key, so 
that open communication is essentially a way to guarantee that those who 
plan and build stay in touch with those who use and support. 


With the immediate goal of forging the outline of a building plan from the 
earlier broad consideration of needs, a museum's leadership will move to 
create a program statement. This document can take many forms, and its 
presentation can be detailed or general. However, it must include an outline 
of physical needs, intended to meet a carefully considered set of program, 
financial, and operating requirements. 

This statement must be prepared either by the museum's leadership or on 
its behalf. In an existing organization, it is likely to be generated internally, 
by the professional director, by his or her planning staff, or by other senior 
staff designated by the director. In a new organization, it may be prepared by 
or under the aegis of the volunteers or board members who participated in the 
organization's formation, if professional direction is not yet in place. 

Since at this stage the document does not have to be technical or detailed, it 
is not necessary to seek the kinds of specialized expertise that will become 
important at later stages of the project. If outside consultants are engaged, 
their purpose is more likely to stimulate and clarify thoughts about the 
organization's future goals than to identify the specific needs of a facility. 
This sort of counsel can be provided by a long-range-planning consultant or a 
strategic-planning consultant and should at this point be limited to helping an 
organization's leadership distill its ideas for the future. Initially the program 
statement may be as simple as "to provide gallery space for the display of 
new work by regional artists and studio space for regional artists to conduct 
studio workshops for high-school and college-age students." Certainly it can 
also be far more complex, depending on the size and developmental sophis- 
tication of the organization. 

Note here again the critical designation of leadership, since it is from this 
point forward that it must be asserted. And it is from this point that an 
organization needs to consider how its leadership can effectively organize its 
building planning. The board president or a member of the board may take a 
leading role, which may lead to the creation of a board committee devoted to 


new building planning. Internally, particularly at this early stage, the profes- 
sional director may well shoulder the burden of preliminary building plan- 
ning, since he or she is also necessarily the organization's key professional 
spokesperson for its future goals. Depending on a museum's size and com- 
plexity, its director may from the outset delegate this and subsequent plan- 
ning stages to a senior staff member, under whose jurisdiction this form of 
planning may already fall, and who, as a given project develops, will be 
designated as the project director. 

In devising a program statement, it may be helpful to summarize the steps 
that have already been taken to narrow the museum's focus to a particular set 
of building objectives. First, a museum's mission must be articulated. Second, 
there is discussion of the programs and services, both curatorial and educa- 
tional, that must be sustained, expanded, or revised to meet the museum's 
goals. Third, the needs of the facility are reviewed. This process involves 
consideration not just of gallery spaces and other public spaces, but also of all 
ancillary support and circulation spaces necessary to accommodate the pro- 
grams and services that fulfill a museum's mission. Fourth, there is an assess- 
ment of staffing needs that will also affect the creation and maintenance of 
facilities. At the same time, there must be consideration of expanding opera- 
tional and financial requirements for all aspects of the organization. 

The program statement will not include precise criteria (the architectural 
program will include that information), and it is meant to be neither neat nor 
definitive. It will, however, trigger the important task of exploring a particu- 
lar project's long-range feasibility, a process that will unfold sequentially 
through three separate but related steps. 

Spatial and Architectural Feasibility 

From a simple outline of needs, a museum can begin to approximate the gross 
volume of space that would be required to meet them and then immediately 
to assess the potential and limits of existing sites and facilities and to under- 
stand the limits of existing locations. If entirely new sites or facilities are to 
be involved, however, this exercise can develop in reverse: first approximate 
space needs are projected and then criteria are developed to establish mini- 
mum facility and site requirements. In either case, the result should be the 
calculation of gross volumes of generic space, to be either newly constructed 
or reconstructed, to fulfill future needs. 

Funding and Fund-raising Feasibility 

With a preliminary sense of the gross space that would be required, the 
museum can begin to assess, again in generic terms, related costs of construc- 
tion. These costs can provide a first indication of the funding requirements 


for a given project, thereby presenting the first opportunity to consider the 
feasibiUty of raising the level of support needed to undertake it. 

Future Operating Feasibility 

In this same vein, by envisioning a new facility on a certain physical scale, 
financial and operating staff can develop theoretical operating scenarios and 
consider their financial consequences. Existing organizations must consider 
levels of unrestricted support, traditionally in the form of endowments and 
other kinds of annual contributions, that may have to be expanded to make 
the operation of a new facility viable. Here fund-raising professionals, who 
have already begun to focus on capital needs to construct a new building, 
must coordinate their efforts with those of professional staff, whose focus is 
on financial and operating issues. 

Architectural planning, fund-raising capability, and financial and operating 
analysis are the interrelated components of project planning that must be 
integrated from this stage forward in a project's development. For an organi- 
zation with long-range planning already in place, this is familiar territory. 
For a new organization, the act of visualizing future physical development can 
be the impetus for formalizing a long-range organizational plan as an essen- 
tial part of its ongoing operation. 


At this stage the immediate objectives, in summary, are to articulate future 
physical needs, quantify those needs spatially, establish cost parameters, 
assess fund-raising capabilities, and analyze operating and financial conse- 
quences. To the extent possible, these efforts are still best undertaken inter- 
nally, since this stage still concerns crystallizing and affirming an organiza- 
tion's own needs for undertaking a building program. However, one must 
recognize realistically the differences among museums' internal resources. A 
large and long-established museum with a history of physical expansion will 
have internal professional capabilities and board resources that are different 
from those of a large organization with no such experience. Both will have far 
more specialized expertise than will a small existing organization. And all 
existing organizations will be more prepared internally for this kind of pro- 
cess than will a newly forming one. 

It is desirable for an organization to exploit existing staff and board to 
accomplish these objectives during preliminary planning, but it is important 
to be realistic about the commitment of time, especially the time away from 
other responsibilities, that may be required. If this is not possible, it may be 


appropriate to engage outside professionals to assist with long-range organi- 
zational planning; to provide preliminary architectural, construction-man- 
agement, and fund-raising consulting services; and to introduce financial- 
and operational-planning methods. 


The long-term objective of a well-organized building planning process is not 
simply to build, but also happily to occupy and operate in a successfully 
completed facility. The conceptual urges that ignite a new or an existing 
organization to think about building one day become the realities of a proj- 
ect's completion. It is essential that an organization never lose sight of this 
seemingly simple truth. What is deemed feasible will be tested when it is 
realized in a completed project, so every consideration made and every reso- 
lution formed during a project's planning phase becomes part of the experi- 
ence of occupancy. An understanding of this relationship between planning 
and occupying — initial conception and completed reality — is valuable in 
guiding an organization through the stages of the building process and serves 
as a reminder that a museum must always remain in control of its building 
process. What is planned is what will be built, and the anticipation of what 
will be built shapes the planning process. 

There are a few axiomatic generalizations to keep in mind as an organiza- 
tion formulates its architectural program, the first formal step in a particular 
project. In concluding this discussion of the early planning stages, it is useful 
to summarize them and to underscore their importance. 

The objective of any organization's building planning must be to fulfill its 
needs and to serve its purposes. These must be its paramount considerations 
during planning, design, construction, and occupancy. 

As it moves through the building process, a museum's leadership must 
remember that the museum is the client. It commissions the work; it engages 
the consultants, specialists, and experts who will design and execute the 
work; and it becomes the owner and occupant of the completed job. (As noted 
earlier, museums functioning under the aegis of other authorities, public or 
private, may not technically own their own land and buildings. However, for 
the purposes of this book, all museums are considered to be both clients for 
and owners of their projects.) While many others may play significant roles 
throughout the process, it is the museum that must ever be in control, since it 
is the museum that must in the end bear the consequences of any and all 

From the planning stage springs all that follows, so it is essential that that 
stage be purposefully set. A museum and its leadership must be prepared at 
the outset of formal planning to make a substantial commitment of time, staff 


resources, and financial support to the planning process. During the planning 
phase, it is also crucial to acknowledge the amount of time necessary to 
accomplish the assessment of a museum's needs and the full explication of 
those needs in an architectural program. And, as the building process moves 
forward, a museum should seek to control the timetable from planning 
through occupancy, in the knowledge that the significance of controlUng the 
schedule weighs differently at each stage. 

Either by designating existing staff or by hiring staff with expertise in 
project development, there must be staff resources available to devote them- 
selves fully to the task of building planning. Finally, the leadership must be 
aware that planning is costly. The obvious corollary to the commitment of 
time and staff is the commitment of adequate financial resources to ensure 
that the necessary time and expertise are available. 



BEFORE A FORMAL ARCHITECTURAL PROGRAM is made, the planning phase 
of project development focuses on laying the groundwork properly for 
what may or may not become the basis for initiating a particular 
building plan. In a sense, all activity prior to this point has been about 
cultivating a frame of mind that lets an organization think about future space 
needs and put those thoughts in the context of other future organizational 
issues. Many scenarios may be formulated, and many interpretations of 
needs and resources may be tested before a single scenario becomes the basis 
for pursuing a given building plan. 

These exercises are an opportunity to engage professional staff in thinking 
about future needs, and if they make board leaders receptive to options and 
opportunities for physical growth, then they are in fact likely to give rise to 
richer, more enlightened, and possibly more creative answers to the underly- 
ing question of how to meet an organization's goals for physical growth. 
Nonetheless, the time will come when a program statement will be affirmed 
that passes at least the preliminary tests for feasibility in relation to future 
goals for funding, finances, and operations. A museum will then begin to 
prepare an architectural program, a formal document that will play a key role 
in architect selection, design development, and even construction manage- 
ment and execution. 

As an editorial and quantitative blueprint that must precede the evolution 
of a particular project's design, the architectural program is the opportunity 
for a museum as an architectural client to construct the outline around which 
a building's architectural story grows. It can take various physical forms. It 
can be a finished document, printed and bound; it can be a three-ring binder, 


The design of entrances and entry spaces carries much of the weight of the 
qualitative objectives that must be set forth in a museum's architectural pro- 
gram. The Beaux- Arts tradition of making visitors feel they have arrived at a 
place of distinction through ceremonial portals, up grand staircases, and into 
monumentally scaled spaces has been adapted over time through many new and 
different forms and technologies. 

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio. View of an archetypal ceremonial 
approach, to the south facade across from Wade Park Lagoon (Hubbell and Beves, 
1916). (Photo: The Cleveland Museum of Art/ Robert Falk) 


The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California. The main entrance retains a 
ceremonial character, but adopts a distinctly regional architectural vocabulary (William 
Templeton Johnson, 1924-1926). (Courtesy The San Diego Museum of Art) 


At the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida (Straughn Furr Associates, Architects, 
1988), a parking lot replaces the grand lawn, offering convenience for visitors arriving 
by automobile. (Courtesy Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, Florida) 

At The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey, the South Wing Entrance uses 
ceremonial doors and scale to elevate the children's experience of arrival (Michael 
Graves, 1989). (Courtesy The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey) 



The notion of monumental stairs, through designs that are at the same time 
historically referenced and contemporary in detailing, is retained at (a) The Saint Louis 
Art Museum, Grand Staircase, West Wing (Charles Moore, Moore-Ruble-Yudell, 
1987), and (b) the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, West Wing (Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer 
Associates, 1985). ([a] Courtesy The Saint Louis Art Museum. Photo: Robert Pettus. 
[b] Courtesy Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) 


(a) James Stirling's design for the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art 
Museums, inserts its "grand" stair between the pubhc and nonpubhc spaces of the 
museum at all levels, as shown in this cutaway axonometric view, which demonstrates 
this main stairway's relationship to all levels. The main entry is at lower right, (b) 
The photographic view down the main stairway shows the museum's entry hall, 
interpreted here as a very modestly scaled foyer area (James Stirling Michael Wilford 
and Associates, Chartered Architects, 1985). ([a] Courtesy James Stirling Michael 
Wilford and Associates, [b] Courtesy Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University. 
Photo: Timothy Hursley) 





(a) The Entry Pavilion of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C., is the gallery's only above-grade presence, with the bulk of its 
space — and its full architectural presence — not visible to the arriving visitor (Shepley 
Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott Architects, 1987). (b) In a complete reversal of 
tradition, the gallery's Central Staircase carries visitors down, not up, to its galleries, 
all of which are organized below-grade. (Courtesy Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Photos: 
Kim Neilson) 




The National Gallery of Art, East Building, utilizes escalators to carry arriving x-isitors 
through an entry courtyard of grand scale, as is seen in this view of the courtyard 
from the upper level (I. M. Pei & Partners, 1978). (Courtesy The National Gallery of 
Art, Washington, D.C.) 


with sufficient space for revisions and addenda; it can be a well-organized file 
cabinet of systematically arranged subject files. But it must be exhaustive, 
and, even more, it must be a living and breathing document that can be 
subject to repeated refinements and revisions as a project develops through its 
design phase and even its construction phase. It should be a firm and defini- 
tive statement that is also responsive to the opportunities brought about by 
time, creative focus, and ongoing technical research and development. 

The architectural program must grow increasingly clear and unambiguous 
as it becomes increasingly concrete, specific, and detailed. Since its purpose 
ultimately is to provide the basis for an architect's design, it must use termi- 
nology and be in a format that will be comprehensible to an architect. After it 
is completed and delivered, many assumptions regarding scale of spaces, 
adjacencies, and the like will be tested during the design phase, and that 
testing may yield further beneficial changes. 

An architectural program must include three essential components. First, it 
must be a qualitative statement of what the client museum wishes to achieve, 
treating editorially each part of a proposed building — its exterior, its interior, 
and all its public and nonpublic spaces. It should begin, generally and philo- 
sophically, by summarizing the museum's mission and articulating the phi- 
losophy and image it wants its facilities to evoke. It should discuss the 
museum's collection practices and objectives and outline its programmatic and 
educational intentions. It should attempt to characterize both the experience 
it wants its facilities to signify and the physical context in which those 
experiences are to take place. It must finally describe the special requirements 
of its collections and programs. 

Second, it must provide a quantitative inventory of all the parts of a 
proposed project, listing cumulatively every space, with each space identified 
functionally (e.g., gallery, office, laboratory) and organizationally (e.g. de- 
partment, medium). In this section of the program, spaces that will be needed 
for every functionally distinct area of a proposed facility must be quantified. 
Area requirements must be estimated, initially by generalized function, to 
arrive at the net — that is, usable — square footage needs for each space in the 
new facility. 

Finally, it must contain a catalogue of quantitative technical criteria needed 
to make the inventoried spaces meet standards for museum operations. This 
last category covers, for every inventoried space, the full range of technical 
requirements, including ceiling heights, dimensional clearances, floor loading 
requirements, environmental criteria, artificial- and natural-lighting specifi- 
cations, and accessibility requirements for physically disabled staff and vis- 
itors. The expertise of outside consultants is likely to be needed for this effort, 
and it should be understood that any consultants engaged at this stage do not 
necessarily have a continuing role subsequently in the design phase. 

As the architectural program is developed, the first two categories of infor- 


mation — the qualitative statement and the quantification of spatial needs — 
establish the scope of a given project. The third category — a project's tech- 
nical criteria — forms the basis for developing a project's specifications. 


For an organization of any size, the decision to begin an architectural pro- 
gram calls for an explicit delegation of responsibility for project direction and 
execution (Fig. 2). This responsibility is delegated according to the internal 
resources of a particular museum. There is also a distinction to be made 
betw^een who directs the writing of the program and who actually writes it. If 
at all possible, a member of the existing staff (or of a new organization's 
forming staff) should direct the creation of the program. Since it is an organi- 
zation's own goals that must be served by its building planning efforts, the 
participation of individuals well versed in its programs and facilities can help 
ensure that focus at this stage. 

In- house Personnel 
& Consultants 

Staff Review Conmittee 

Special Consultants 



Public Programs & Info 

Installation Design 

Handicapped Access 
Security Maintenance 



Maintenance & Operation 

Hazardous Waste 
Interior Design 

Exhibition Design 

Art Storage 

Study Centers & Library 

Food Service 


Retail Shops 


Board Conmittee 


Design Consultants 


Project Director I 

Outside Consultants 

Construction Consultant 


Security Design 

Life Safety 

Vertical Transportation 
Historic Preservation 
Tel econnuni cat i ons 

Audio Visual 


Curtain Wall 

External Factors 

Construction Manager 




Figure 2. Project-management organization. 


In a large museum, a senior staff member, perhaps already identified as 
project director, may already have responsibility for long-range planning. 
And if there has been prior physical expansion or development, this or an- 
other senior staff member may also have responsibility for architectural 
planning. In smaller museums, it is likely that a single deputy or assistant 
director has both responsibilities. In any case, it is critical to recognize the 
magnitude of the assignment and the difficulty, if not impossibility, of having 
the museum's director undertake it directly while continuing to oversee every 
other aspect of a museum's ongoing operation. Indeed, it is questionable 
whether any senior staff member who might be delegated to oversee the 
development of a museum's architectural program can still retain other major 
responsibilities without significant support. 

For a new museum, the situation is obviously very different. A new profes- 
sional director may find that the responsibility for forging an architectural 
program is indeed one of his or her first tasks. 

In any case, the making of the program should be guided by someone who 
knows intimately a museum's program, audiences, operations, and facilities, 
as well as its goals and objectives, and who intimately understands the objec- 
tives of realizing new space. 

It is highly unlikely that any museum's staff has sufficient expertise to 
undertake internally the actual writing of the program. Certain very large 
museums (and, again, perhaps only those that have had experience with 
expansion) may have in-house planning staffs with architectural-planning 
capability that are qualified to do this work, but most will have to go outside 
for the requisite expertise. If the funds exist, this may be the first oppor- 
tunity to "staff up" internally for the challenge that lies ahead through the 
full planning, design, and construction cycle. If strengthening a museum's 
internal capability to manage the building process is a desirable objective, this 
is the time to do so. With the museum-building boom of the past two 
decades, a professional specialty in museum planning and architectural con- 
sulting has evolved to meet the demand. Museum or institutional experience 
is desirable, but not essential, since the task at this stage is to understand a 
particular museum's needs and requirements and not to extrapolate from the 
needs and requirements of others. (That ability becomes more valuable at 
later stages and is available through other means.) Indeed, one can easily 
argue that it is better to engage an outsider who is free of any preconceived 
ideas or biases. 

If it is not possible to bring this expertise in-house through an expansion of 
staff, it can be commissioned on a consulting basis, for which the same 
criteria apply. The disadvantage is that making a project's architectural pro- 
gram becomes an enterprise of encyclopedic proportions; accomplishing it 
internally with existing or expanded staff, rather than buying it on a consult- 
ing basis, can be a powerful tool in a project's overall development. Since a 


responsive program continues to change as a project evolves, its maker should 
ideally be involved until a project's completion. During the design phase, 
program requirements and criteria will be revisited regularly as design op- 
tions offer varying ways to address stated needs, and the programmer can 
contribute significantly to the consideration of such issues. 

The programmer and the staff member responsible for overseeing the 
programming effort need to be sure in collecting information and shaping the 
program document that they are covering all bases and hearing all relevant 
voices. To do so, they will want to talk with many people: 

1. Staff members, who have been primed for participation by their 
earlier involvement in needs assessment. 

2. Trustees, who have participated in reviewing the mission and whose 
support and endorsement ultimately are critical. 

3. Technical consultants, who have expertise in areas where the staff do 
not. The range of such areas can include collection-related issues, 
such as conservation and lighting; service-related matters, such as 
retail and restaurants; and facilities-related issues, such as energy 
management, computerization, and telecommunications. 

4. The network of sister institutions that have had comparable experi- 

5. Government and community representatives, who may have a par- 
ticular focus on institutional obligations or community needs. 

To collect the information they need, they may conduct individual interviews 
or organize meetings or retreats. They may distribute questionnaires or 
formulate worksheets for their own use during interviews and meetings. 
They should certainly be encouraged to talk with colleagues outside the 
museum, in the field, and to visit other institutions with relevant histories. 


Since one of the key functions of an architectural program is to inventory a 
project's physical scope, it may be helpful to outline one way of organizing 
such an inventory — in this case using all the spaces of a new museum facility 
as an example (Table 1). In this example, the proposed new facility is sepa- 
rated first into the two major divisions of public and nonpublic spaces. Then, 
within each of these major categories, spaces are further divided according to 
their functions. One useful way to approach the public spaces is from the 
perspective of a visitor arriving at the museum. A similarly useful way to 
organize the nonpublic spaces is from the perspective of an arriving work of 



Public areas 

Free spaces 

Paid spaces 






Retail sales? 



Food services 






Retail sales? 


Food services 





Group visits 

Nonpublic areas 



Loading dock, shipping and 

Photography, matting, and 

Conservation lab(s) 

Art storage 

Collection management 

Research/study centers 


Staff spaces 


Meeting rooms 

Lunch rooms 



Operating spaces 



Shops (carpentry, 
painting, electrical) 

Mechanical equipment 



Public Spaces 

The sequence of spaces that are encountered by an arriving visitor follows, 
along with questions that may help either to quantify related spatial require- 
ments or to identify relevant criteria for the space. 

I. Entry 

A. Do visitors arrive on foot, by automobile, or by mass transit? 

B. How are visitors meant to feel, and what are they meant to experi- 
ence, on arrival? 

C. What are the relevant climatic conditions? Is the weather often in- 
clement? Are canopies or covered driveways important? Are revolv- 
ing doors necessary? 

D. What is the projected volume of traffic that will use the entrance? Is 
all traffic intended to flow unsegregated through all entrances? 

E. Is access for the physically disabled and the elderly provided at all 

F. What are the requirements for off-hours entry? 
II. Visitor services 

A. Coat checking 

1. What kinds of coat-checking facilities are to be provided? 

2. Are packages and umbrellas to be checked along with coats? 

3. What is the coat-checking capacity in relation to the projected 
volume of public traffic for the museum? 

B. Admission 

1. Does the museum charge admission? 

2. What method of admission sales will be utilized? paper tickets? 
buttons? turnstiles? 

3. Are the number and configuration of ticket-sales locations suffi- 
cient to accommodate the projected volume of public traffic? 

C. Visitor information 

1. Is visitor information dispensed by staff or solely by displayed 
printed materials? Is it dispensed in the same location where the 
tickets are sold? Is it available for visually or hearing disabled 
visitors? Is it centralized or decentralized? 

2. Are there related membership-sales activities? 

3. Is information dispensed in a free zone or the paid zone of the 

D. Retail sales 

1. Is the retail-sales installation conceived as part of the informa- 
tion-dispensing activity or the membership-sales activity? 


2. Is the retail installation in a free zone or in the paid zone of the 

E. Restrooms and telephones 

1. Are restrooms and telephones provided in free zones or only in 
paid zones of the museum? 

2. Is the toilet count sufficient both to meet code requirements based 
on gross area and to serve the projected volume of public traffic? 
Are the needs of physically disabled visitors accommodated? 

F. Food services 

1. Are the food-service operations in a free zone or in the paid zone 
of the museum? 

2. What capacity can they serve? How does this capacity relate to 
the projected volume of traffic for the museum? 

3. Are food-service operations provided as a public service to the 
visitors, or are they intended as revenue generators? 

4. For revenue-generating facilities, what are the policies for rental 
use and access? Should segregated access be provided? 

III. Orientation and educational facilities 
A. General considerations 

1. Are orientation and educational programs currently provided? In 
what ways might they be changed in new or expanded facilities? 

2. To what extent are new audiovisual or other teaching technologies 
to be incorporated in new facilities? Can they be reproduced in 
forms accessible to the visually and hearing disabled? 

3. Are these facilities segregated from the facilities available to the 
general public? 

4. Are they in a free zone or in the paid zone of the museum? 

5. What are the size and nature of the audience to be served by these 

B. Auditoriums 

1. What types of programming are contemplated for auditorium 
use? film? performance? music? 

2. How large or small an auditorium is needed to accommodate the 
overall projected volume of traffic for the new facilities? 

3. Are separate checkroom and restroom facilities required specifical- 
ly for the auditoriums? 

4. Are amplification systems for the hearing disabled provided? 

5. Will off-hours access be required? Is segregated access necessary 
or desirable? 


C. Group visits and school groups 

1. Do group accommodations refer to facilities only, or are special 
forms of programming available for visiting groups? 

2. What is the projected size of group-visit audiences in relation to 
the projected volume of traffic for the museum? 

3. Are separate checkroom and restroom facilities desirable or appro- 
priate? Is a segregated entrance desirable or appropriate? 

IV. Galleries 

A. Exhibition 

1. What are the square-footage requirements for exhibition-gallery 
space as distinct from collection-gallery space? 

2. What are the environmental criteria for temporary exhibition 
galleries? What are the electronic-security criteria? 

3. What are the load-bearing criteria for temporary installation 

4. What methods are used for temporary wall construction and in- 

5. What is the optimal lighting system? Is daylight an integral part 
of the lighting-system design? 

B. Collections 

1. What is the relative apportionment of available collection-gallery 
space among the various collection mediums? 

2. How are gallery finishes, details, lighting criteria, environmental 
criteria, and load-bearing criteria different for the various relevant 
collection mediums? What options are available? 

3. What installation techniques are optimal for the various collection 
mediums? for audiences with special physical requirements? 

Nonpublic Spaces 

Nonpublic spaces can be categorized as those that are exclusively or primarily 
for art handling and management and those that are staff and related service 


Following the path of a work of art as it arrives at a museum facility, one can 
chart the sequence of functional areas the artwork encounters as it moves 
through the museum. 

I. Art handling 

A. Loading dock, shipping and receiving 

1. Do climatic conditions require a fully covered loading-dock facili- 


2. What are the dimensional requirements for truck activity and for 
art-handhng activity? 

3. What are the load-bearing requirements? 

4. Must one facility receive all in-coming shipments, both art and 
non-art? Can these activities be segregated in any way? 

5. How is dock activity supervised and made secure? 

6. How is the arrival facility situated in relation to the shipping and 
receiving facilities? 

7. Is elevator transit required? If so, what are the dimensional re- 
quirements and load-bearing requirements for the elevator(s)? 

8. Is the shipping and receiving area only for packing and handling 
or also for examining and temporarily storing shipments? Is the 
size of the facility adequate for the projected volume of art- 
handling activity? 

9. What ceiling heights are required? 

B. Photography, matting, and framing 

1. How do these areas communicate with the shipping and receiving 
areas? Do all access routes and areas have the same dimensional, 
load-bearing, environmental, and security criteria? 

2. What is the minimally required headroom for all such areas? 

C. Conservation laboratories 

1. Based on existing laboratory facilities and on the comparative size 
of individual collection mediums, what degree of specialization 
and growth is contemplated for individual labs? 

2. What are the specialized requirements for labs serving different 
collection mediums? What are the specialized criteria in the fol- 
lowing categories: environmental control, natural light, artificial 
lighting, equipment, hazardous materials, minimum dimensions 
for access and headroom, floor loading? 

3. What are the requirements for location with respect to galleries 
and storage areas for related mediums? 

4. What new technologies should be anticipated and with what spe- 
cialized installation and use requirements? 

5. Are facilities accessible to physically disabled staff? 

D. Art storage 

1. What are the area requirements for storage, as compared with the 
installation capacity of the collection galleries? What are the spe- 
cial requirements of various collection mediums? 

2. What are the specialized environmental, dimensional, and load- 
bearing requirements for various collection mediums? 


3- Are there distinctions to be made between temporary and long- 
term storage, and between on-site and off-site storage? 

4. What are the apphcable local code requirements for fire protection 
in storage areas? Are there alternatives for art storage as distinct 
from other types of storage? 

5. What are the minimal headroom and other dimensional require- 
ments for all access routes among art-storage areas and all other 
art-handling areas? 

II. Art management 

A. Collections and curatorial management 

1. What is the administrative structure for collections management? 
Are collections stored and supervised by individual curatorial de- 
partments or by the registrar? What are the responsibilities of 
each with respect to collections management? 

2. Are stored collections accessible to nonstaff? Is this access pro- 
vided through collection study facilities? Are these facilities adja- 
cent to collection storage areas or within curatorial study facili- 
ties? Are they adjacent to or within curatorial departments? 

3. What are the specialized requirements (spatial, systems, and nat- 
ural- or artificial-lighting criteria) for study handling of collec- 

4. What supervision and security mechanisms are required? 

B. Research 

1. What is the museum's commitment to access for research? How is 
this translated spatially? 

2. Do curatorial study areas or centers exist within the museum? 
Are they centralized or decentralized within curatorial areas? 

3. Does a library collection exist? Is it centralized? Is it decentralized 
within curatorial areas? 

4. Are the library collections specialized? Do they contain rare mate- 
rials ? What are the specialized criteria for environmental control, 
security, and access? 

5. What new technologies should be anticipated for information pro- 
cessing, storage, and access? 

6. Do archives exist? Are they administratively centralized with 
other research collections, or are they segregated? 

7. Do archives contain rare materials? What are the specialized crite- 
ria for environmental control, security, and access? 


In developing an architectural program, a museum must focus as much on 

staff, general service, and administrative functions and spaces as on the seem- 


ingly more important areas involving its collection and exhibition practices. 
Sadly this is not often done, and museums can easily find themselves too 
small to house the forces that must maintain and serve their fully grown 
facilities and programs. 

ADMINISTRATION AND STAFF. With regard to staff office areas, it is crucial 
that a museum ask many questions about future needs. 

1. For each departmental area, what levels of staffing will be needed to 
program, operate, and maintain new facilities? 

2. How do departmental areas relate administratively? How should 
they relate spatially? 

3. Is there an organizational attitude about the relationship between 
management style and physical environment? Is open-office plan- 
ning appropriate or desirable? 

4. What are the requirements for group meeting spaces? What are the 
special requirements for board and other governing committee meet- 
ing spaces? 

5. What new office, information, and telecommunication technologies 
should be anticipated? 

6. Is there a commitment to computerization? If so, at what level and 
for what types of applications? 

7. Are all facilities accessible to disabled staff? 

OPERATIONS. It is also crucial that an assessment be made of the size of the 
plant-management and maintenance staff that a new facility will require, 
particularly in view of any technical advances that may be anticipated and of 
the equipment and storage needs of those forces. 

1. What incremental staffing is needed for mechanical-plant manage- 
ment, for facilities maintenance, and for security? 

2. What are the requirements, possibly union-mandated, for these em- 
ployees for lockers, lunch facilities, showers, and other amenities? 

3. What is the anticipated increase in bulk-storage requirements for 
supplies relating to operations and maintenance? 

4. What new equipment is required for operating and maintaining a 
new plant? What special storage requirements do these present? 

Disney World devotes an entire underground city, as large as the park 
itself, to the staff, systems, supplies, and equipment that program, operate, 
and maintain its facilities. Sadly, very few museums have the luxury to 
afford that level of accommodation. With limited resources, most museums 
must think realistically first and foremost about the collections they acquire 
and preserve and the exhibitions they produce, and their behind-the-scenes 
machinery necessarily becomes a lesser priority. Nonetheless, in preparing 
the architectural program, there is every reason to consider fully a museum's 
projected needs in these areas. 


The evolution of the architecture of the Walker Art Center over the past twenty years 
has given resolution both to its immediate physical site and to its larger site placement 
within the context of urban Minneapolis. Its 1971 building by Edward Larrabee Barnes, 
Architect, FAIA, opposite an underdeveloped park site near downtown Minneapolis (a), 
acquired a true sense of place in 1988, with the creation of the Minneapolis Sculpture 
Garden (as seen from the terrace) (b), which spreads an apron in front of the museum 
and builds a link to downtown Minneapolis across Siah Armajani's commissioned 
footbridge (c). (Courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis) 

This outline is only one way of organizing a museum's efforts to collect the 
necessary data. For museums whose holdings comprise a number of diverse 
and unrelated collections, where use, access, care, and related issues of pro- 
gramming and services must be considered completely separately for each, it 
may be preferable to organize the outline with separate sections for each 
collection and its particular needs, with generally applicable considerations 
made only at the end. Rather than beginning by distinguishing between 
public and nonpublic spaces, the set of questions might begin by differentiat- 
ing between art and non-art, or between art and service. 




The construction of the Robert O. Anderson Building at the Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art, in 1987, provided an opportunity both to expand the museum 
complex, with a new facility for twentieth-century art, and to reorient completely its 
principal fagade presentation to Wilshire Boulevard and, with it, the whole experience 
of approach, entry, and circulation within the museum complex, (a) Site preparation, 
construction photo; (b) Wilshire Boulevard fagade (Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, 
1987). (Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photos: [a] Tim Street- Porter; 
[b] Copyright 1990 Museum Associates, Los Angeles, California) 




Museum retail spaces present a range of design challenges and solutions, (a) Uniquely, 
at The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York, Red Grooms was commissioned to 
create The Bookstore 1979, which also functions as the museum's retail shop. 
(Courtesy The Hudson River Museum of Westchester, Yonkers, New York) (b) More 
recently, to address space constraints that precluded on-site retail expansion. The 
Museum of Modern Art opened its MoMA Design Store, in a commercial building 
opposite the museum's main premises. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New 
York. Photos: Hambrecht Terrell International) 




The restroom is a significant public amenity that cannot be overlooked. Adequate 
restroom facilities are a matter of visitor comfort and of local code compliance. At 
Emory University's Museum of Art and Archaeology, Atlanta, Michael Graves fulfilled 
these needs with a facility of highly distinctive design (Michael Graves, 1985). 
(Courtesy Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology) 







An important amenity for many museums is the restaurant. However, dependmg on 
the constituency to be served, the types of food, service, and facihty can vary widely, 
(a) At the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, the service operator and a 
museum administrator survey the construction in progress of the museum's 
McDonald's franchise, which opened in 1987. (b) This contrasts dramatically with the 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where the West Wing includes an elegant setting for 
fine dining (I. M. Pei & Partners, 1981). ([a] Courtesy Field Museum of Natural 
History, [b] Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) 


Auditoriums and lecture halls are significant spaces. Beyond the simple issue of 
seating capacity, there are many specific requirements to be quantified in the 
architectural program, among them acoustical requirements, lighting, sound and 
visual projection, and fixed equipment. 

Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey. The Billy Johnson Auditorium (Michael 
Graves, 1989). (Courtesy Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey) 

University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, California. The George 
Gund Theater (Mario Ciampi, 1970). (Courtesy University Art Museum and Pacific 
Film Archive, University of California at Berkeley. Photo: Benjamin Blackwell) 


As educational and research centers, museum libraries, study rooms, and teach- 
ing spaces are core elements of a museum's program. 

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut. Reference library. (Courtesy 
Yale Center for British Art. Photo: Richard Caspole) 


The Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (Mitchell/Giurgola 
Architects New York, 1989). Classroom in the David H. McAlpin Study Center. 
(Courtesy The Art Museum, Princeton University. Photo: WilHam N. Taylor) 


Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama (Barganier McKee Sims 
Architects Associated, 1988). Artworks gallery. (Courtesy Montgomery Museum of 
Fine Arts. Photo: Fonts Commercial Photography) 

With the completion of the architectural program, enormously important 
data have been compiled defining the proposed scope of a project. These data 
yield quantitative information so that the square-footage areas estimated for 
each functional requirement can be tabulated to yield the physical parameters 
of a project. They generate qualitative planning through the editorial consid- 
erations stimulated by the kinds of questions raised in the outline. And they 
generate technical requirements and elicit views about the kind and quality of 
architecture that may be desirable or appropriate. 

The importance of staff input, from the curatorial voice articulating con- 
cerns about collection management and curatorial programmmg to the oper- 
ating staff focusing on running and maintaining the physical plant, has been 
emphasized repeatedly. Since, by this point, staff members will have invested 
a significant amount of time and effort, it is important to ensure that, once 
fully engaged with the process, they continue to feel that they are a part of it. 
At the same time, they may have expectations about what a particular project 
may or may not be able to achieve, and it is important that they understand 


Conservation laboratories have enormously specialized technical requirements, 
such as operating criteria for laboratory equipment, special ventilation, lighting, 
and surface materials. 

The Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. Conservation lab. (Courtesy The Bishop Museum) 

how decisions are made on an ongoing basis and that they be advised of 
decisions, through timely and rehable communication. 

No program can absorb and endorse every recommendation. Once all the 
relevant information has been collected, it must be digested, shaped, and 
edited for forge the completed program. The programmer, together with the 
project director designated to direct the program's making, must work to 
shape the program to represent the objectives that the museum's professional 
and board leadership have endorsed. It should be understood clearly by the 
larger body of participants that it is the members of this hierarchy who are 
responsible for putting the program in its completed form. On the other 
hand, to maintain an overall sense of participatory effort and goodwill, the de- 
cision makers must regularly and openly disseminate information about their 
progress and regularly and openly receive new input — an interchange that can 
indeed enhance the process during this and the succeeding design phase. 


Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. Conservation lab. (Courtesy 
Indianapolis Museum of Art. Photo: Copyright Wilbur Montgomery WM 
Photographic Services) 

It is also essential to document the decision-making process that trans- 
forms program data into the formal program. As decisions are made that 
clarify the program's many components, they should be recorded in meeting 
minutes and internal memoranda or through other appropriate methods. As 
time passes, the basis for certain decisions, even especially critical ones, may 
fade from institutional memory. And decisions that may not seem particu- 
larly important when they are made may grow to have much greater signifi- 
cance. During the design phase, after the program is completed but while 
design issues continue to be considered and reconsidered, the design architects 
may want or need access to documentation for certain decisions. Staff in- 
volved in the initial assessment of needs may want to recall the rationale 
behind such decisions. As planning and design proceed, decisions are made 
and remade, and the seeming clarity of one moment may become the chaos of 
the next. A clear record of decision making can provide underlying comfort 
and help to keep confidence and enthusiasm among the broad group of play- 
ers in an exercise where consensus is key, since ultimately and realistically, 
decision making must be entrusted to a few. 




THE COMPLETION OF THE FORMAL architectural program signals the be- 
ginning of the actual, as distinct from the theoretical, project, with a 
defined scope and character. As such, it is also a watershed moment, 
offering the first real opportunity to fix and test the parameters of a particu- 
lar project. 


Once the physical scope of a project has been determined, the first project 
budget can be computed, although, at this stage, it may be based more on 
formulaic estimating standards and estimated square footages than on de- 
tailed calculations of precise measurements and unit costs. Nonetheless, tied 
for the first time to a given project's defined scope, it will provide the com- 
parative basis for all subsequent project costing efforts. 

The component parts of this first project budget can be organized to fall 
within certain standard construction categories. These are typically refined 
and grouped into more detailed categories as the project and its budget grow 
more detailed. 

I. Soft costs 

A. Predevelopment and planning 

1. Consultants 

2. Lawyers 


B. Fees 

1. Architects 

2. Engineers 

3. Specialized consultants 

C. Project management 

1. Museum project management 

2. Construction management 

D. Staging 

1. Mobilization and relocation 

2. Occupancy 
II. Hard costs 

A. Site 

1. Acquisition 

2. Demolition 

3. Removal of hazardous materials 

B. Construction 

1. Construction contracts 

2. Site work and landscaping 

3. Construction contingencies 

C. Furniture and equipment 

1. Movable furnishings and equipment 

2. Specialized interior installations 

a. Auditoriums 

b. Specialized storage 

c. Restaurants 

d. Retail 

III. Project contingencies 

A. Contingencies for scope development 

More will follow in succeeding chapters about the composition of these 
budget categories. At this stage, it is likely that many will be calculated 
simply as standard percentages of the estimated hard costs for constructing 
facilities of the scope outlined in the architectural program. Determining an 
estimated hard cost for actual construction is therefore the first and most 
critical budgetary task at this stage, followed by the determination of applica- 
ble percentage standards for most other budget categories. It should be noted 
that these will vary from region to region throughout the United States and 
among different types of construction projects. 

Since most museums will not have the in-house staff to accomplish this 
first budgetary exercise (although a large museum that is or has been en- 


gaged in architectural planning may have this resource in a staff architect, 
planner, or construction manager), they will need outside help in construc- 
tion cost estimating. This assistance can be provided by professional firms 
specializing in cost estimating, construction-management firms or general- 
contracting firms that offer cost-estimating services, or individual 
construction-management consultants. 

The decision regarding where to seek help in cost estimating often dovetails 
with the first serious consideration of how a museum wishes to build the 
project management team that will oversee a project's execution (see Fig. 2). 
Often, the only consultant engaged thus far will have been the specialist who 
wrote the architectural program. Although the architectural program will 
continue to be developed, it is a commissioned piece owned by the museum, 
and any subsequent refinement can be under the aegis of the senior staff 
member overseeing it. Cost estimating, on the other hand, will be an integral 
part of the periodic assessment of a project's progress, so it is wise at this 
stage to make sure that an appropriate mechanism to provide this service is in 
place for the duration of the project. 

The project director (assuming that the museum's director has by now 
delegated responsibility to a senior member of his or her management staff) 
may propose to build an in-house team of project- and construction-manage- 
ment professionals, to be engaged as their particular forms of expertise are 
required. If so, the project director could at this stage hire a construction- 
management professional — an owner's representative — whose role would in- 
clude consulting on all matters relating to a project's development and its 
construction management and who would therefore be responsible for the 
first cost estimates either directly or by hiring independent cost-estimating 
services. Alternately, the project director could propose hiring a construction- 
management firm to provide estimating services initially and a full range of 
services later, during design and construction. This choice will be discussed at 
greater length in Parts II and III. It is presented here, since it first becomes a 
consideration when it is time to estimate project costs. 


Regardless of how the project budget is first calculated, it is a critical step that 
ushers in the first concrete assessments of a project's feasibility. Can the 
funds needed to accomplish a project of the scale revealed by the initial project 
budget be raised? What are the future operating costs and the related operat- 
ing implications of the facilities envisioned in the architectural program? 

Earlier, with the formulation of the program statement, the museum's 
fund-raising and financial professionals and its trustee and volunteer com- 
mittees undertook a preliminary consideration of what would be feasible. At 


this stage, with dollar costs calculated on the basis of a defined project, these 
considerations need to proceed in earnest. If consideration of a possible build- 
ing program has been included in a museum's long-range planning, these 
feasibility analyses are simply a next logical step. If not, now is the time to 
galvanize fund-raising staff and relevant board committees to study the feasi- 
bility of raising the needed support. Outside consulting assistance may be 
appropriate but at this stage is not essential, depending on the capability of 
in-house staff and resources. However, the involvement of both the profes- 
sional staff and the board is certainly critical, since these considerations be- 
come the basis for decisions about plans that a museum must now affirm and 
then implement. 

Similarly, financial and operating staff must assess the operating implica- 
tions of the architectural program and formulate a first incremental operating 
budget that anticipates the staffing levels, operating costs, and maintenance 
burdens of the proposed facilities. With this budget, factored into a museum's 
long-range financial forecasting, the professional staff and trustees can assess 
the financial imphcations of a proposed building program for a museum's 
future operating budget. If ongoing planning mechanisms are not in place for 
this kind of analysis, it is critical that they be established now. The museum's 
professional staff and board must appreciate the consequences of any such 
proposed new facilities, since, from this point forward, they must be the 
proponents of the project that is beginning to take shape. 

In this respect, this moment is a significant point of departure. If a project 
is deemed financially and operationally feasible by a museum's staff and 
trustees, they are ready to begin the next formal stage. Conversely, if doubts 
and questions surface or if a project's scope is found not to be feasible, either 
financially or operationally, then board and staff members must consider 
substantially reducing the scope of a project, or even possibly abandoning it. 
Through the several stages of a project, these opportunities for assessment 
and reconsideration, which succeeding chapters will highlight, present them- 
selves. They are fundamental to keeping a project responsibly on track, and 
they are key to ensuring that all parties, professional and volunteer, board and 
staff, understand the implications of the decisions reached during each stage. 
With the conclusion of the formal planning phase, once the architectural 
program is complete and the assessments of budget, funding capability, and 
financial feasibility are positive, a museum proceeds to the first step in the 
design phase: selecting an architect. However, as this new phase begins, it is 
important to reiterate that planning does not end with the planning phase, 
but only with the completion and occupancy of a new museum building. The 
decisions and refinements of every stage will affect the eventual result, and 
their implications must always be considered. The first steps and all succeed- 
ing steps resonate, and the end result — the completed museum project — is 
finally the product of all these steps and their accumulated reverberations. 


Leadership and direction must be identified, responsibility must be dele- 
gated, and authority must be vested in individuals to ensure that the process 
works smoothly. There must be board leadership and delegated board respon- 
sibility, and there must be commensurate professional leadership and dele- 
gated staff responsibility. Nonetheless, these designated leaders must be re- 
ceptive to the staff, the board and other volunteer support groups, and the 
larger community in order to build a consensus and to forge collectively a 
museum's sense of ow^nership of a project as it develops. Each subsequent 
phase of project development will offer the occasion, and mandate the necessi- 
ty, for reaffirmation of this consensus. 




AFTER DECIDING TO BUILD, the logical and most critical next step — 
and the first design decision the museum makes — is selection of the 
architect. Since this decision has immediate stylistic implications, 
the museum as client and owner must prepare for the selection process, and 
the project leaders must be well informed to make a meaningful and lasting 

No matter what approach is used, no matter who is responsible for making 
the choice, once the choice is made it is one of generational permanence, at 
the very least. Trustees, directors, and curators may all turn over before 
another new space is built or rebuilt. The choice of the architect usually has a 
life span at least equal to that of the project leaders, and in some cases the 
architect's tenure may outlast that of the director, the chairman of the board, 
or other project principals. In all likelihood, when the choice of architect is 
released to the press, there will be a substantial amount of publicity, and a 
long and lasting relationship will ensue. 

More permanent than a binding contract between architect and museum is 
the building that is produced. Architects have individual styles and predilec- 
tions that must be matched with the project. Frank Lloyd Wright produced a 
very different kind of museum from Louis Kahn. The appropriate architect 
has not only the experience to handle a job of a certain magnitude and 
building type, but also the aesthetic sympathy, aptitude, and desire that 
matches the project's specific requirements, the site potential, and the leaders' 



The project leaders are charged with the responsibihty of choosing the archi- 
tect and therefore with deciding the institution's architectural future. The 
development of the museum's building requires the same considerate long- 
term vision as the development of its mission and its collections. The process 
of building requires that project leaders articulate their vision of the develop- 
ing institution. The magnitude of the project in both size and design must be 
thoroughly comprehended in order for the vision to be realized. Most impor- 
tant, the funding available and the proposed physical scope must be compati- 

An institution's architectural development evolves from an understanding 
of its past as well as a vision of its future. Thus it is best to involve experi- 
enced participants in choosing the architect. Institutional architects are al- 
most always selected by a board-level selection committee that represents the 
museum as the owner/client. The composition of that committee is an im- 
portant and sensitive issue, and the twenty museums' responses to the survey 
conducted for this book reinforce the notion that determining who partici- 
pates can be complex and controversial, at both board and staff levels. The 
committee should include key members of the board (preferably those who 
have represented the project from the outset), the director, and, when appro- 
priate, professional staff. In some instances, government and community 
leaders should also be considered. 

Committee structure can become both challenging and creative; some 
members may be added to the committee as nonvoting advisers, which can be 
a helpful way to include outside and staff advisers when the board does not 
wish to extend decision making beyond itself. As evidenced in this project's 
survey, the board will at the minimum need the advice of outside architec- 
tural professionals and internal professional staff. 

Staff participation can be a sensitive issue. The process of selecting an 
architect represents the changes to come, which may be threatening to staff. 
Staff members know intimately how to operate the current facility and are 
most deeply involved with its functioning. In selecting an architect, a prudent 
board will be concerned with both functional and aesthetic considerations, and 
board and staff must understand each other's requirements. The link between 
the staff and the board is the director, whose role is to draw from the staff's 
knowledge and to respond to the staff's concerns. In the surveyed museums, 
staff members were included in the selection process as often as they were 
not. Staff morale is also important to a successful project, and one way 
suggested to engage staff members is to make them aware of the project's 
progress through a staff representative, either voting or nonvoting, on the 
selection committee. Depending on the size of the institution, this might be 
the director or another designee from the professional staff. 


A last and sensitive footnote is how also to engage a project's financial 
supporters. Surveyed museums have reported various experiences on this 
front. There may be strong voices among those who feel literally invested in a 
project. Those who are considering major contributions may also wish to be 
involved. Similarly, a way to encourage prospective donors of substantial 
building funds can be to give them an opportunity to participate. 



Those responsible for selecting a project's architect should be fully apprised of 
the project's goals and the way in which architectural issues can govern their 
choice. All members of the committee and their advisers should be well 
versed in (i) the scope of the project, (2) the program's specific requirements, 
(3) the capabilities of the considered architects, (4) the criteria for a successful 
client-architect relationship, and (5) relevant government and community 

The Scope of the Project 

Before selecting an architect, all members of the selection committee must 
clearly have the same vision for the project, which is first represented by the 
program statement and which triggers the development of the architectural 
program. This can be a difficult part of the process, since it requires consensus 
early on with regard to a project's goals (see Chapter 4). 

The qualitative program statement provides prospective architects with a 
narrative summary of how a museum perceives its mission, its internal 
workings (both professionally and communally), and its relationship to its 
community. This statement in the museum's language, which reflects how 
and what it wants its future to be, will ultimately be interpreted in physical 
form through the selected architect. A lot of thought must go into the state- 
ment. It is important to include issues such as the necessity of a welcoming, 
accessible image in the community and the relation of the institution's educa- 
tional program to the public-school system, local universities, and so on. 

The architectural program will extend to the architect a perception in 
narrative terms of how the museum collections should be displayed, to be 
translated by the architect into appropriately designed exhibition spaces. 

To choose an architect whose work best matches what is envisioned in the 
program statement, the committee must know the architect's work. It is 
essential that members of the committee either travel to see the work of 
architects under consideration or be given materials such as illustrated pre- 
sentations and publications to get a feel for an architect's sensibility. It is also 



The major programmatic objective of the Chmese Export Decorative Arts Gallery, 
Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts (Kallmann McKinnell & Wood, Architects, 
Inc., 1988), was to install the collection in a well-lighted and unadorned environment. 
(Courtesy Peabody Museum of Salem. Photo: Mark Sexton) 

key to find out from other museums where architects have done work how 
well their architects interpreted their aesthetic and programmatic objectives. 

The Program's Specific Requirements 

To choose an architect, the client must have at least the program statement, 
if not also the groundwork, for a complete architectural program (see Chap- 
ter 4). Whatever programming stage the museum has achieved, it is crucial 
that it understand its needs and have established goals before selecting the 

The selection committee must understand the type of work to be under- 
taken, be it restoration, adaptive reuse, expansion, or new construction. A 
new building on a new site, for example, provides the opportunity for a 
museum to create a new aesthetic mark. However, the design of an addition 
may be constrained by the aesthetic mark of an existing building. 


Permanent collection galleries also have special requirements. At the Kimbell Art 
Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, collection installation requirements for lighting and 
gallery detailing are fully integrated with interior architectural objectives (Louis Kahn, 

The museum should therefore be aware of architects' experience with the 
type of building project it is undertaking. If a renovation, what will be the 
extent of the renovation? Will there be a complete gutting of existing facili- 
ties, with entirely new systems and rebuilt interiors, or a rehabilitation and 
upgrade utilizing some existing systems and interior finishes? Is this a histor- 
ic restoration of a landmarked or treasured site, or is this the adaptive reuse of 
an old government or industrial building into a retrofitted new art museum? 
Is this a completely new building? The chosen architect should have the 
experience to address the specific needs of the project. 

An existing site and building may help to narrow the choice if the committee 
knows it wants a design that will match the style of the existing building. For 
example, if an addition is planned for a landmark building, local governance or 
institutional preference may impose such a requirement. If the building is to be 
altered substantially and there are no such constraints, the preference may be 
either to pursue a design direction in keeping with the extant style or to depart 


At The Museum of Modern Art, New York, a classic modernist installation aesthetic 
dominates the early modern collection galleries (a), while the helicopter installation at 
the entrance to the museum's architecture and design galleries (b), at the top of its 
Garden Hall escalator system, presented other nontraditional challenges. (Courtesy The 
Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photos: [a] Kate Keller; [b] Adam Bartos) 

boldly from the existing style. The chosen architect should have demonstrated 
sensitivity to this kind of questioning. 

The challenge may arise from an intent to retrofit an existing building, as 
art museums — for example, galleries at colleges and universities — are often 
created from buildings that have had a different earlier use. Other consid- 
erations might be site related. Is a surrounding park or recreational use 
required? Is the site flanked by similar building types? Is it part of an urban- 
redevelopment project? A new building without a selected site offers a differ- 
ent challenge. 

The physical needs of a museum require special consideration. Of extraor- 
dinary concern are security, circulation, the layout of exhibition galleries, 
public amenities, and, most challenging, environmental zoning and control 
issues. The art museum is a place of public assembly that should provide 
comfort and accessibility to its visitors at the same time that it provides a 



protective and secure environment for its collections. It is an academic en- 
vironment that needs to be user-friendly. All these criteria should be pre- 
scribed in the architectural program. 

The Capability of the Candidates 

In searching for an architect, in addition to the vision represented in the 
program statement, committee members must understand the type of build- 
ing they are representing and the design challenges it presents — all of which 
is described in the architectural program — to be able to assess the experience 
of the architects under consideration. The specific requirements of a given 


The contemporary galleries at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, were 
designed specifically to meet the installation requirements of the Lewis Gallery, which 
houses the twentieth-century collection. (Courtesy Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) 

building type are outlined in the quantitative inventory and performance 
criteria of the program. Understanding this material will give insight to the 
technical demands being placed on the architect. 

As a building type, art museums are similar to zoos and aquariums, except 
that they have living collections. But from a design and construction perspec- 
tive, museums as institutions are probably most akin to hospitals and depart- 
ment stores. Like hospitals, they have persistent and periodic demands to 
change, improve, and expand their facilities. They deal in specialized en- 
gineering systems and have similar security concerns. Where hospitals are 
run by administrators and physicians, a museum's professional leadership is 
similarly divided between administrators and specialized professionals — cu- 


The renovation of the European paintings galleries at The Art Institute of Chicago is 
notable for its careful attention to the particular criteria of the mediums on display 
(Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1988) (Copyright 1991 The Art Institute of Chicago. All 
rights reserved) 

rators. However, the museum is also much Hke a department store in its need 
for oriented public circulation through secured areas housing frequently 
changing installations. 

The architect must be capable of appreciating this specificity and diversity 
of the museum client's needs. An ideal architectural team would combine 
both visionary leadership and administrative expertise, experienced with the 
types of design problems that a particular project presents. Architects who 
have built only residential projects, for example, would have to prove they are 
capable of providing the quality of finish, sophisticated engineering, and 
public amenities that a museum requires. 


The Art Institute of Chicago, Regenstein Hall, Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building 
(Hammond Beeby and Babka, Inc., 1988). This exhibition gallery is designed for 
flexible use, with high ceilings and a modular-grid system that allows for adaptable 
wall and lighting plans and for rezoning of mechanical systems, in order to satisfy a 
range of uses, as shown here in an installation of contemporary work from the Gerald 
S. Elliott collection. (Courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago) 


The range of materials that art museums can be called on to install in their temporary 
galleries is evident in (a) the "Automobile and Culture" exhibition installation at The 
Museum of Contemporary Art/Temporary Contemporary, Los Angeles (Frank Gehry, 
1981-1985) and (b) the Caribbean Festival Arts installation at The Saint Louis 
Museum of Art. ([a] Courtesy The Museum of Contemporary Art/Temporary 
Contemporary. Photo: Squidds & Nunns. [b] Courtesy The Saint Louis Museum of 


In this process, a museum must also decide how large a field of architects it 
wishes to survey. Is its identity international, national, regional, or local, and 
should the architect's identity be similarly international or local? If the field 
is larger than the local community, the museum should also be aware that it 
may need to provide local production services, in which case the choice of a 
local production architect must be equally carefully reviewed. 

The project leaders may elect to survey as broad a range of architects' styles 
as possible before they make a decision. But in the end, a decision will have to 
be made, after which there usually is no turning back. Architects cannot be 
asked to radically change their aesthetic to suit the stylistic expectations of a 
project's leadership, so selection committees must focus on whom and what 
they are seeing, and must recognize that what they choose is what they will 
get. Built work is a testament to an architect's beliefs and a demonstration of 
his or her sensibilities and priorities, so it is essential to look at built projects 
before making a choice. 



At The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, a dining 
hall (a), shown here in 1937, was transformed in 1966 through adaptive reuse into new 
museum galleries (b). (Courtesy The William Benton Museum of Art, University of 
Connecticut, Connecticut's State Art Museum. Photo [b]: Paul Rovetti) 


The Client-Architect Relationship 

Great buildings are in part the product of effective client-architect rela- 
tionships. Frank Woolworth and Cass Gilbert built the Woolworth Building 
in 1913 as a team. The client's needs and vision were interpreted through 
modern technology, creating the early landmark skyscraper. Most museum 
clients are a "client group" of trustees, director, and relevant staff, with 
government and community representatives sometimes included. The selec- 
tion committee represents this client pool during the search for an architect. 
Sometimes when a single collection or private donor is involved, the architect 
may have direct access to an individual's singular vision. Usually, however, it 
is the committee's collective vision that is represented, perhaps by a single 
spokesperson in the form of a chairman, with requirements clearly spelled out 
in the program. 

The temperament and personal styles of prospective architects are also 
important considerations. Client references are also essential in evaluating 
these points. 

The first opportunity for the museum as client to be assertive and to test a 
prospective client-architect relationship is during the selection period. And 
this test is key, since the dynamic between the owner and the architect is an 
essential part of the design and building process. 

Government and Community Concerns 

Museums are civic buildings, and frequently they fall under some form of 
government regulation. In some cases, the museum client may be a govern- 
ment agency rather than the museum corporation. For example, a local 
municipality that owns the land or the building may either directly hire or 
govern the selection of the architect. The museum as tenant in such a case 
must assert itself in the process. All communications may have to pass 
through a government project administrator, with the museum board and 
staff relegated to the position of adviser and tenant-user. In some cases, the 
local or federal government may provide all or part of the project funding and 
may therefore have a review relationship with the project in which the muse- 
um board (or staff) administers the selection, design, and construction of the 
project but must submit to government review and possibly approval along 
the way. If a project involves a landmarked property or is located within a 
historic district, certain regulatory agencies may have to be consulted. 

Government officials often sit as ex officio members of museum boards, 
and their involvement in the selection process may help expedite a project at a 
later stage, especially if government supervision is mandated. The most im- 



The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, is a wholly new museum that occupies a facility 
designed and constructed specifically to house it (Renzo Piano, Atelier Piano/Richard 
Fitzgerald & Associates, 1987). (a) North arcade, looking west; (b) entrance foyer; (c) 
20th-century Gallery. (Courtesy The Menil Collection. Photos: Hickey-Robertson, 


Architect Arata Isozaki presents his model for the new Museum of Contemporary Art, 
Los Angeles, 1983. (Courtesy The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Photo: 
Vanguard Photography) 

portant point to remember is that any government involvement adds time to 
the process. In the building process, time means money, and that consider- 
ation must be factored into planning, schedule making, and budgeting. 

Government funding and community pressure go hand in hand. Strong 
community support may endorse and encourage building allocations. Or 
adversarial groups left unattended can press for funding to be reduced. Most 
local community interests consider "their" museums to be treasures of their 
communities, and if they are not consulted early on and engaged somehow 
with the process, they may feel neglected. Keeping such groups informed can 
be achieved through special presentations where a project is identified as a 
source of community pride and educational enrichment. The community can 
be more effectively engaged early on if asked to help with fund raising, to 
assist with government lobbying efforts, and to endorse the project publicly. 


Museums report that one of the most difficult problems is deciding the 
precise method for selecting the architect. Once the selection committee is 


formed and has been prepared, the process can begin. Whatever the method, 
two constants are certain. 

1. The choice will be one of significant public interest, opinion, and, 
frequently, controversy. 

2. Not everyone will be satisfied with the choice. There is no fail-safe 

Even if the selection is as direct as simply hiring the same architect who 
built existing facilities or a prominent local architect, even if it is a single- 
entry selection, there will be public interest and comment. Since museums 
are civic buildings that become symbols of community pride, the public has 
proprietary sentiment about them. Boards should therefore be sensitive to 
community interests and choose a method of selection that can be defended 
fully as a responsible one. 

In addition to sensitivity to external factors, the museum must ensure that 
there is a consensus of the board and director regarding the method of selec- 
tion and the final choice. There have been instances in which, after a selection 
has been made and even after designs are well under way, members of the 
project's leadership have ordered a change of architect. In like manner, if 
there is a change of leadership at the level of director or chairman, the new 
leadership, dissatisfied with the original choice, may replace the architect. 
While such changes may be unavoidable, it is important to note that they are 
expensive and time-consuming. 

There are several methods for selecting architects, ranging from handpick- 
ing to holding an international competition. Although this text does not 
recommend any one method over another, it does advise that, since a muse- 
um building will last a long time, the greatest care be taken in selecting its 

Direct Selection (Haiidpicking) 

It is not uncommon for a director or chairman to make an informed recom- 
mendation to the board and have a vote taken and a decision reached. This is a 
very simple approach; however, it requires that those involved in the final 
vote be completely satisfied and prepared to endorse the recommendation. 
Selecting an architect in this way without a broad investigation or search is 
valid only if there exists an individual or entity charged with the decision that 
is sufficiently well informed to make the choice. It is not a recommended 
method, based on the assertion of many museums that research is essential in 
making this choice. 

At the same time, this approach can work if all involved are thoroughly 
versed in a project's requirements and the capability of available architects, 
and if the choice is indeed obvious. For example, consider a museum whose 


original building is only twenty years old. The design is exemplary; the 
architect is still in practice. The board and director decide to approach the 
architect about adding to or renovating the existing building, and the archi- 
tect's thoughts are in accordance with the institution's desires. The choice is 

The sources of a project's funding should not play an influential role in 
selecting the architect, but sometimes they do. This issue must be managed 
properly and carefully, especially when funds come from government alloca- 
tions. When a museum is under the regulation of local authorities, it is 
imperative that it become aware of what governs the selection process. Pro- 
curement rules are also often insensitive to the special needs of art museums. 
Therefore, it is important that the museum's administration challenge any 
such regulations and make its particular needs known early in the process. 

Such choices should not be made for a museum by an uninformed outside 
regulatory party. In order to protect the use of public funds against the biased 
letting of contracts, it is possible, for example, that there may be a lottery or 
"next-in-line" system in place. However, exceptions should be granted in 
order to produce the most qualified contenders. Most governance of this sort 
is in the form of regulations, not law; therefore, reason, research, and the 
availability of private matching funds should be marshaled to provide a con- 
vincing argument for a more informed selection process. 

Surveying the Field ("RFP"/"RFQ" Method) 

Most boards and government agencies will prefer a more open, researched 
method in accordance with their fiduciary responsibility. The increasingly 
common method of selection is to develop a list of candidates, usually referred 
to as a long list, and then reduce this list to a few serious contenders (the 
short list) to interview. Some museums might develop the long list by send- 
ing a letter, stating the intent of the search and describing the qualifications 
required, to professional colleagues, trustees, professional staff, and architec- 
tural advisers, and asking them to make recommendations, which become the 
long list. The difficulty then is in cutting the long list down to a short list. 
This process is expedited by sending an "RFP" (request for proposal) or 
"RFQ" (request for qualifications). Over time, there has come to be less of a 
distinction between the RFQ and the RFP, but the objective in both cases is to 
ensure that the desired information is requested in a clear and equitable 

The RFQ asks only for information about a firm's credentials and qualifica- 
tions for the specific job: for example, the principals' and partners' experience 
and credentials; the members of the project-management team (with accom- 
panying resumes); lists of projects similar to the museum's project; types of 
building experience, such as historic restoration, institutional work, govern- 


ment buildings, new buildings, additions and renovations, and adaptive re- 
use; the current activity of the firm; and the dollar value of projects built. 
Firms are also asked to describe their proposed working method if they were 
chosen for the job and to submit photographs of a prescribed number of 

The RFP asks for all of the above as well as for submission of a proposal, 
which also includes fees. In addition, it implies that to be able to calculate a 
competitive fee, more information about the project may need to be elicited 
from the client. The RFQ method is often used when there is no existing 
building or site. Less information is available, and it may be a museum's 
intention to use its selected architect to assist in choosing a site or perhaps 
even in developing the architectural program. This approach may also be used 
initially to survey the field of architects in a two-stage selection process, so 
that after the field is narrowed, an additional request for information may be 
distributed to a shorter list of candidates. 

A museum should prepare a formal program before beginning the RFP 
process, especially if there is an extant building or site. Beneficial results can 
be achieved if institutional goals have been defined and quantified for the 
contending architects. In addition, the museum should provide site data and 
extant building documentation if relevant. This will require work by the 
museum's management staff and perhaps the help of an outside consultant. 

The RFP process is more competitive. If asked only for qualifications, an 
architect can expect to be reviewed based on previous experience through the 
success of built projects, staffing, training, managerial skills, and design dis- 
tinctions. A proposal will usually require fee estimates and often design 
intentions or approaches. In competing against one another, architects will 
often seek to present design concepts, sometimes in the form of drawings and 
documents. Sometimes payment is offered for these services, sometimes not. 
If drawings and estimates are requested, it is appropriate to pay for them, and 
many architects resist preparing proposals without receiving any fees, since 
this work generates direct costs. 

The information obtained from architects' submissions is reviewed by the 
selection committee, which narrows the field to a manageable number of 
candidates, the short list, to be interviewed. It helps if this part of the process 
follows a standard procedure; however, one must not overlook the relevance 
of whether or not one likes the built work of the architect, and one should not 
be seduced by renderings and "produced presentations." It is always best that 
the committee look at actual built projects. If that is not possible, the mem- 
bers should study them thoroughly in photographs and in interviews with 
former clients. 

As the committee works with the short-list candidates' submissions, which 
at this stage are composed of qualifications, fee proposals, and a written 
statement of design intentions, it may elect to request design sketches by the 


final few candidates. Payment for such services may be in order and worth- 
while in order actually to see what prospective architects have in mind before 
a final choice is made. 

The Competition 

The use of a request for proposals often is, but should not be, misconstrued as 
an architectural competition. Whenever a field of consultants has been asked 
to participate in bidding on a project, the process is a competitive one, but it is 
not necessarily an architectural competition. Indeed, there are specific rules 
and supervising guidelines to follow in conducting the time-honored tradition 
of an architectural competition. The American Institute of Architects has 
produced an excellent and inexpensive guide on how to run an architectural 
competition,! defining the different types of competitions and outlining rules 
for their supervision. This publication is an essential starting point for all 
who consider this method. In addition, the Design Arts Program of the 
National Endowment for the Arts provides grants to assist in administering 

There are essentially two ways to conduct a competition. The open com- 
petition is advertised as open to all who qualify, with no limit on the number 
of entrants. It provides the broadest possible range of candidates but requires 
heavy administration, and entrants usually pay a fee to offset the costs of 

In an invitational competition, firms with known qualifications are asked to 
submit qualifications and, eventually, proposals. These competitors are paid, 
usually at the finalist stage, to produce designs. The difference between the 
standard RFP method and the invitational competition is that the competition 
is run by an independent, professional adviser, preferably a registered archi- 
tect who sets and administers the rules of the competition. The adviser 
ensures that the competitors are given information equitably and is the only 
person to communicate with the contestants during the competition. An 
independent jury, which should be composed of architectural peers and the 
museum's leadership, makes the final selection. After finalists are selected, 
the selection committee's involvement ends; for continuity, it is therefore 
recommended that representative board members of the selection committee 
sit on the jury. 

There are many variations on both types of competition, and the main 
advantage of each is the opportunity to see the architects' intent in a devel- 
oped form before making a decision. Two well-documented art museum 
competitions are those of the Center for the Visual Arts at Ohio State Uni- 
versity (1984) and The Brooklyn Museum's Master Plan Competition 



After there is a field of candidates to be reviewed — whether it be a short hst 
compiled by word of mouth, sohcitation, an RFP, or a competition; whether 
the process goes from long list to short list, or when eliminating names from 
a short list — a question remains: How is the final choice made? 

The selection committee by this stage is well aware of the objectives and 
specifications of its project, knows the qualifications of the candidates and 
how they relate to the museum's project, and has established criteria for 
making its choice. Now, all the committee members have to do is ask ques- 
tions and make their selection by rating the answers. This may seem over- 
simplified, but in actuality it is what happens, and the selection committee 
that does not feel it has the particular expertise to do so should by all means 
seek outside professional participation. 

When soliciting information from candidates, it is important to request 
pertinent staffing information (see Chapter 8). The architect's design team is 
composed of a variety of players. In addition to the project-management staff, 
whose credentials should be reviewed carefully, there are a number of impor- 
tant consultants — mechanical, structural, landscape, lighting, and security — 
whose credentials, qualifications, and experience should be checked. 

The interview is, of course, essential, involving both the architects and all 
design consultants. Questions should be based on the specifics of the project. 
However, some essential questions concern the architect's relevant previous 
experience. Has the firm proved its capability with work of equivalent scope 
and magnitude? Has it had civic architectural experience or worked on sym- 
bolic buildings? Has it done institutional work with other museums, hospi- 
tals, or academic institutions? In the end, previous museum experience is not 
necessarily key, since almost all museums are unique according to the specifi- 
cations of their collections. One must not forget that lames Stirling's Neue 
Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart was his first built museum, and often the first of a 
building type by a particular architect may be his or her best work. 


1. American Institute of Architects, Handbook of Architectural Design Competitions, 
2nd ed. (Washington, D.C. : American Institute of Architects, 1982). 

2. See Peter Arnell and Ted Bickford, eds., A Center for the Visual Arts: The Ohio State 
University Competition (New York: Rizzoli, 1984), and Joan Darragh, ed., A New 
Brooklyn Museum: The Master Plan Competition (New York: Brooklyn Museum and 
Rizzoli, 1987). 




AFTER THE ARCHITECT has been chosen, the press conference held, and 
receptions introducing the architect to the museum community are 
over, it is time to prepare the contract. This negotiation can take 
considerable time, sometimes up to several months, which should be allocated 
in the schedule. If not already on board, a legal adviser should be engaged at 
this point as a key member of a project's administration. Given a museum's 
size, legal advice might be available from its in-house general counsel, from a 
special counsel well versed in architectural and building issues, or as a service 
donated by a board member. 

During contract negotiation, the partnership between client and architect is 
formed. Contractual concerns also help focus the project and raise issues that 
will prepare the professional staff for internal structuring and identify new 
resource requirements. It is not only the architect but the museum client as 
well who has a job to do, requiring time and staff resources. This is the time, 
too, to realize that the museum will also have responsibilities under the 
contract — to stay on schedule, to provide information, and to perform re- 

The contract is also a useful tool to help clarify for a project's administra- 
tion important procedures and requirements. The contract identifies what 
will be expected of the client, clearly outlining the architectural-design and 
construction commitments of both the client and the architect. 


For the uninitiated, it may be helpful to review the AIA's standard form of 
agreement as early in the process as possible, even before selecting the archi- 
tect, i The AIA has written many contractual forms to expedite contract 
implementation, and clients are cautioned to remember that these forms are 
written for and on behalf of the profession and therefore are seen by most to 
favor architects. Museums that receive government or university funds also 
should determine if they should be using a more appropriate form of contract. 

This review will focus attention on a number of important issues — for 
example, that interior-design and related costs are not necessarily part of the 
basic services fee. The project administration will want to look closely at 
issues of interior design, whether for offices, storage, or exhibition galleries. 
What other consultants might be required? What role will the architect have 
in designing those interiors? How does one coordinate efforts between overall 
architectural design and interior design? 

The AIA form can become the basis for a more individualized contract 
through appropriate modifications as suggested by the museum's counsel. 
Becoming aware of contractual issues in advance not only will be an advan- 
tage during the process of selecting the architect, but, by making nuances of 
the working relationship between the museum and architect apparent, will 
help control costs. Such enlightenment will be beneficial throughout the 
process, and the enlightened client can almost always help to avoid unneces- 
sary expenditures. 

How Many Architects Have Been Selected? 

To begin contract negotiations, the museum must first know with whom it is 
to negotiate. When the search for an architect begins, the design architect is 
usually the point of focus. The design architect develops the overall design 
direction for the job, and the design will be executed under his or her supervi- 
sion. However, there are many methods of working with architects, and 
circumstances often dictate that the design architect not be the contracting 

For instance, the location of the design firm's office is a significant factor. 
The design firm may be headquartered in a city other than that in which the 
museum is located and may therefore engage a local architect at this juncture. 
In addition to having specific knowledge of local laws, conditions, and the 
like, a local architect can save the client time and therefore money. Once the 
design process begins, the museum staff will be working daily with the archi- 
tectural team, so proximity is crucial. 

If the firm is not nearby, a local architect, as an associate, can provide more 
direct administration to the job. Or another architect with specific experience, 
such as historic restoration, may be required. In any case, with specialized 
building types such as museums, however, there can often be more than one 


architect involved. The museum then has the choice to contract individually 
with each firm or to require a partnership, legally a "joint venture," in which 
the museum client holds a single contract with the joint-venture entity. In 
this arrangement, one architect becomes the architect of record, stamps the 
drawings, and assumes liability for the project's architectural development. 
Joint ventures are not common, but they are frequent enough to deserve some 

A project's joint-venture, or associate, partner is as important to a project's 
success as the design partner, even though this firm may not have the same 
public profile. The museum must have the right to approve the associate 
partner. Once it is determined, during the selection process, that an addi- 
tional firm's services will be required, the selection committee should review 
the credentials of the associate firm as closely as it reviews those of the design 
firm. If the firm of record must submit to local governance and oversight and 
if local funding is also involved, it should be qualified on the basis of relevant 
government building experience. If special expertise in a field such as historic 
restoration is needed, the selection committee should become equally familiar 
with that particular field of candidates. 

The architect of record produces the construction documents, manages the 
project on site, and, most important, stamps the drawings with the official 
seal that he or she is licensed to use. He or she is also responsible for filing 
building documents with local authorities. Since a museum must use an 
architect who is licensed and registered in the state in which such documents 
will be filed, a local architect is often necessary to fulfill this role when the 
design architect is not registered in the state of contract. 

In some cases, especially when working with a foreign firm, it is necessary 
for a museum to have two separate contracts with its architects: one indepen- 
dently with the design firm, which is not licensed and therefore can produce 
only the design concept through design development, and the other with a 
local firm of record with responsibilities to coordinate services, provide con- 
struction documents, and supervise construction. Alternatively, the museum 
might decide to have the foreign firm work as a subcontractor to a local firm. 

Other Design Consultants 

Design consultants are brought in by the architect at various stages of a 
project and many must stay with a job through construction (see Fig. 2). Most 
become active (at least to the client's knowledge) in a limited way during 
schematic design and more fully during design development. For example, 
the mechanical consultant provides all the design services for heating, ventila- 
tion, and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, and electrical systems, working 
with security and lighting consultants, among others. 

Before finalizing the contract, and certainly as one more step in a negotia- 


tion process, a museum should require the presentation of all consultants, 
since they must also be reviewed and approved by the museum, and the 
museum should reserve the right to decline any of the architect's recommen- 

When negotiating the contract, it becomes immediately clear what is and 
what is not included for professional consultants' fees. Returning to the AIA 
standard form of agreement will show that only the services of the mechani- 
cal, structural, civil, and landscaping engineers are typically included under 
basic fees. A highly technical and specialized museum building, however, can 
require a long list of other consultants: acoustical, life safety, disabled ac- 
cessibility, code, lighting, art storage, retail, food service, telecommunica- 
tions, exhibition design, security, graphics (see Fig. 2). At the time of con- 
tract, the parties should determine which consultants are required, what fee 
arrangements will be made, who will manage the consultants, and who will 
assume liability for their work. It may be preferable for the architect to 
manage all consultants so that their services are coordinated, documents are 
integrated, and overall liability rests with the architect. However, the muse- 
um may also need to contract certain consultants directly (see Fig. 2). 

Indeed, in addition to the consultants whom the architect might typically 
bring to a project, there is a growing number of specialists in the museum 
field whom the museum can hire directly to help it review design and con- 
struction documents or other specialized issues. For example, the field of 
accessibility and universal design is relatively young (see Appendix A), and 
many architects may not be fully conversant with the concept. It may be 
wise, therefore, to consider a consultant or a team of disabled people to review 
this aspect of the project for the museum client. 

Additional technical services are often sought to cope with the challenge of 
specialized environmental systems. Issues such as the regulation of tem- 
perature and humidity, the zoning of art and non-art spaces, and the exhibi- 
tion of art objects in environments that must also be designed for visitor 
comfort are challenging to architects and engineers. The installation of vapor 
barriers in extant buildings, the distinctive characteristics of specific collec- 
tions and their varying environmental requirements, issues of automation 
and computerization that will require specialized design and properly oriented 
operating personnel to make systems function as planned — all these needs 
must be addressed. The museum should consider bringing required expertise 
on board in a timely way so that those who will operate new systems and 
those who are particularly knowledgeable about them can participate in their 
design. There are now consultants who specialize in museum environments, 
and the best way to find them is through colleagues in the field with prior 

There are also customized requirements for storing art and furnishing 
spaces to house collections. Although colleagues who have recently designed 


and constructed art-storage furnishings and new spaces are a good source of 
information, there are also consultants who specialize in these areas who can 
help with individualized needs. 

Increasing concern over security issues has also led museums to consider 
hiring security consultants. Often an extant operation may have a security 
firm that works with professionals on staff on security operating and mainte- 
nance issues. The architect may advise bringing on a security-systems de- 
signer, but design expertise is different from operating expertise, and a con- 
sulting security-systems designer will need to have an in-house counterpart 
who has equal familiarity with operating and maintenance issues to review 
design and construction documents. Further, if a museum is upgrading to a 
more sophisticated system, it should consider adding staff with the appropri- 
ate expertise, if this is not otherwise available on staff. 

Fees and Compensation 

Negotiating architect's fees brings a dose of reality to the first budget, or 
proposal budget, as described in Chapter 5. Until now, the budget has been an 
estimate based largely on orders of magnitude — square-footage take-offs and 
approximate unit costs. During the architect's contract negotiations, all the 
consultants' fees should be examined, including all fees and compensation to 
architects and their consultants, and their combined "reimbursables," which 
are discussed at length later in this chapter, together with any other direct 
costs they incur. 

The architect's fee can be a standard percentage of the cost of construction 
or a fixed fee plus charges for direct costs. There are several variations on 
both choices, and they should be carefully considered. If a fee is based on a 
percentage of the cost of construction, the precise definition of "cost of 
construction" should be carefully reviewed and understood in the architect's 
contract. Estimates of the cost of construction will vary during the design 
phase, and the actual cost may not be fixed until final audit at the end of the 
construction phase. 

The cost of construction is typically the hard, or brick-and-mortar, cost of 
a building project — that is, the actual cost of materials and labor, together 
with contractor's expenses and fees. The cost estimate almost always includes 
contingencies, general conditions, construction manager's fees (if applicable), 
escalation, and other related fees, which will be discussed further in Chapter 
8. However, the cost of construction on which the architect and possibly 
other consultants base their fees may or may not include all these additional 
costs. They may become a point of negotiation, and this is therefore where 
legal counsel and specialized expertise are required to ensure that all parties 
have the same understanding. The finalization of the contract should also 
parallel the review and approval of the most current project scope and esti- 
mated cost, in relation to the architect's negotiated fee. 


Since the architect's fee as outlined in the contract will cover only basic 
services, the nature of those basic services must also be fully understood 
before finalizing the contract. (For a revievi' of typical basic services, see the 
AIA standard form of agreement.) For museums, the most important service 
that is typically not considered a basic service is interior design, which en- 
compasses collection-exhibition design. 

Unspoken Costs: Reimbursables and Out-of-Pocket Expenses 

The architect's basic fee is only part of the architect's total charges. The 
balance is a combination of direct costs to the architect, out-of-pocket ex- 
penses, and subconsultants' fees charged to the architect that are not included 
under basic services. (For a listing of the range and types of consultants, see 
Fig. 2.) It is the responsibility of the architect to negotiate these fees on 
behalf of the museum. And it is the museum's right to review, and to accept 
or decline, fee proposals. It is often best to put a cap on these fees at the 
outset, so that a museum can budget precisely for the cost of such services. 
However, sometimes as a job progresses there will be circumstances under 
which consultants may reasonably request to renegotiate a fixed fee, and a 
museum may grant additional compensation. At the same time, if fees are 
not capped at the outset, billing for services rendered can easily get out of 

In addition to subconsultants' fees, there are other legitimate reimbursable 
costs to both architect and subconsultants. One such expense is the cost of 
duplicating documents, for which it is important to insist on estimates early 
on and to try to set a maximum price. The balance of reimbursable costs will 
be for consultants' project-related expenses, such as telephone, postage, pho- 
tocopy, messengers and express mail, car services, travel, special photog- 
raphy, and binding costs. It is the responsibility of a museum's project direc- 
tor to review such expenses throughout a job's progress and make sure that 
they are in line with the budget. 

Integrated Contracts 

The responsibility of the architect to the owner is different when working 
with a general contractor from what it is when working with a construction 
manager. The AIA has provided two different forms of construction-related 
agreements, one for working with a general contractor and the other for 
working with a construction manager. 2 If using a construction manager, the 
museum should be sure to protect itself by having integrated contracts for its 
architects and its construction manager, in order to prevent an overlap in 
responsibility. The construction manager's role has been developed over the 
past twenty years, and often what used to be the architect's responsibility 
under construction-inspection services is now the concern of the construction 


manager. It is important that each party know its specific obHgations, and 
integration of the contractual documents can clarify many of the issues that 
otherwise will arise between the architect and the construction manager. 

Also, if there are both design and technical or production architects and 
each is under a separate agreement rather than working in a joint venture, the 
production architect may add a surcharge for design-development review and 
coordination with the construction documents. The museum client must 
proceed with the same enlightened caution in negotiating this feature. 

Negotiation of the architect's contract, which may take months and should 
be allotted adequate time in the project schedule, is more important than the 
actual signing of the contract. There may be occasions when a museum client 
chooses to proceed without a signed contract, especially if a project is behind 
schedule, but it should not do so without the advice of legal counsel. Most 
important is the focus that reviewing contractual issues brings to the job, 
which helps enormously in preserving the museum's status as a well- 
enlightened client. 


Architects might argue that the only way to achieve a fully unified museum 
design is for the architect to control the installation design for exhibition 
spaces. This issue can and should be dealt with early in the contract stage. 
Because exhibition spaces are so visible, receive so much public attention, and 
are, indeed, the core of most museum project objectives, the architect will be 
interested in their appearance and in many cases will want to be included in, 
and have some or substantially all control over, their design. Museums, 
however, often prefer that architects not be involved in the design of art 
installations, and this is an appropriate time to bring up and resolve this 

The larger issue of designing permanent installations is worth examining 
more closely. Traditionally, installations at art museums have been the prov- 
ince of curators, usually with the support of art-handling or technical-display 
departments, since few museums have customarily had installation designers 
on staff. The rise of "blockbuster" exhibitions in the early to mid-1970s 
changed this approach. These installations were dramatic, even theatrical, and 
were designed as an expression perhaps of new policies geared toward attract- 
ing broader, more popular audiences. 

Acknowledged as a primary reason for the significant increase in the 
number of visitors to art museums over the past twenty years, which in turn 
highlights the demands that have physically challenged the art museum as a 
building type in recent times, the blockbuster phenomenon has also resulted 
in an expectation among art museum professionals and the visiting public of 



(a) Study galleries at the Yale Center for British Art were designed especially to permit 
a dense installation of study collections in a manner that makes them accessible for 
public viewing, (b) Some collections require uniquely designed facilities, not just 
interiors, as does the Pavilion of Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of 
Art (Bruce Goff, 1988). ([a] Courtesy Yale Center for British Art. Photo: Richard 
Caspole. [b] Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo: Peter Brenner) 


WLodels and renderings can be very illustrative. They help staff and other profes- 
sionals who are deeply engaged with the planning process, as well as donors, 
potential donors, and other supporters, visualize how an unbuilt building will 


The view of the courtyard of The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia (a), compared 
with the same view in the architect's model (b) (Hartman, Cox, 1988). (Courtesy The 
Chrysler Museum. Photo [b] : Peter Aaron) 

high standards of installation design that not only demand more sophisticated 
spaces, but also take seriously the museum's educational and interpretive 

A professional specialty has evolved to service this demand, either through 
in-house departments and positions or, if operating funds are not available, 



through contract consuhants. Today installation designers can be expected to 
deal with a host of technical and aesthetic issues that are related to the 
problems of exhibition design per se. They can include interior architecture, 
visitor traffic flow, lighting, installation and promotional graphics, audio- 
visuals, and, at times, even questions of art handling and mounting. What 
separates museum-installation specialists from department-store or trade- 
show designers is their particular skill in working with museum curatorial, 
conservation, and educational issues and, most important, into art objects. 

With the rise in the number of new and expanded museum buildings, 
designers have come to find themselves interacting with architects and en- 
gineers, as well as with their traditional colleagues in the museum profession. 
They have become part of the overall museum-design process in many ways, 
but generally at the later stages of project design. 

Often the installation designer is brought into the process only after the 
museum and the architect have determined gallery-design specifications — 
that is, plan and elevation dimensions, adjacencies, finishes and details, floor- 



The Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts, is shown both in rendering (a) and in 
photograph of the actual built fagade (b) (Kallmann McKinnell & Wood, Architects, 
Inc., 1988). ([a] Courtesy Kallmann McKinnell & Wood, Architects, Inc. [b] Courtesy 
Peabody Museum, Salem. Photo: Steve Rosenthal) 


Models and mock-ups are often the best way to inform the museum cHent's awareness 
of what is to be built. One can actually peer into this Museum of Modern Art model 
looking east across the Garden Hall space from the second floor landing — experiencing 
a view and spatial configuration that could not otherwise be understood successfully 
from two-dimensional representations. (Photo: Copyright 1980 Wolfgang Hoyt/ESTO, 

ing, lighting plan, and so on. There is an increasing awareness, however, that 
the museum and the process can benefit from earlier involvement with those 
on staff or hired as consultants who will be involved with installation design. 
What is critical for fruitful museum project management is that a harmo- 
nious understanding — at minimum, artistic compatibility and mutual re- 
spect — exist between architect and installation designer, so that the installa- 



(a) Renderings can be interpretive, as in this drawing by Frank Lloyd Wright of The 
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum at night, (b) The drawing, done in 1959, is still 
being used to document an earlier design intention of the original architect to expand 
the building in a manner not unlike that shown in the design by Gwathmey Siegel & 
Associates Architects for the new museum addition. (Photos: David Heald) 



San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Mario Botta, 1990). These four illustrations 
show the cumulative benefit derived from a basic ground-floor plan (a); then a 
longitudinal section (b), which enables the viewer to see through the building at all 
levels; followed by facade-elevation renderings (c and d), which give only single points 
of view but which detail significant facade features, like the central cylinder. (Photos: 
Ben Blackwell) 





tion designer is a part of the architectural program development process, 
along with all other professional staff members. Participation should be en- 
couraged through all stages of design reviews. 3 


A full discussion with the architect, at the outset, is in order about the types 
of drawings and models that will be used in the design development and 
review process and for fund raising. The museum client must understand 
what drawings and renderings will be required that do not fall under basic 
services, and it is helpful to have the architect draft a recommended list and 
discuss it point by point with the project's leaders. Museums should also 
consider the residual uses of these materials. For example, a rendering of a 
gallery, done for the purposes of fund raising, may be used later as a poster, 
an invitation announcement to the museum opening, or even a T-shirt im- 

Many of the museums surveyed agreed that the use of models and mock- 
ups, especially for public spaces, was invaluable to understanding a project's 
design. At the same time, models and renderings for fund raising and presen- 
tation can become very expensive. For a large-scale project, the charge for 
full-scale mock-ups can be very substantial — for example, if gallery lighting 
is being installed for a gallery mock-up, in special spaces and with custom 
ceilings and finishes. 


A separate, but related and potentially important contractual consideration 
is the ownership and exclusive right to publish original architectural drawings 
and materials. Since art museums collect, preserve, and display works of 
art — which architectural renderings and sketches are considered to be — and 
put premium value on archival documentation, they might want to consider 
claiming ownership of original materials. Only original, stamped contract 
documents — the construction documents (CDs) — must be held by the archi- 
tect and cannot be altered without liability to the architect. In most instances, 
however, the museum is more concerned about rendered design drawings and 
presentation documents. The museum is entitled to right of ownership, a fact 
that should be pointed out during the contract-negotiation stage. The muse- 
um client might also consider negotiating for illustrative and process draw- 
ings. These come more in the form of sketches, usually done in the hand of 
the signature architect, and they are usually retained by the architect. A less 
formal approach is for the museum to urge the architect to contribute these 
drawings to its collections. 

The architect may also want to use a museum's designs to display his or 
her firm's expertise. If the museum, for administrative and planning reasons, 
does not want its designs published until the museum is ready to release 
them, this must be made very clear at the outset. This process can be very 
difficult to control, yet it can be critical to the timing of a publicity event or 
the heralding of a capital campaign, since crucial timing of the release of 
public information can be undone otherwise by an architectural firm that is 
eager to show its wares. This point should be addressed initially and contrac- 
tually, with an understanding that the client does not wish to prevent pub- 
licity, just to control its timing, which can benefit both parties because the 
museum's success in capital fund raising can be the source of the architect's 
success as well. 


1. Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect, Construction Manage- 
ment, 1980 ed. (AIA Document B141/CM). 

2. When working with a general contractor, see Standard Form of Agreement Between 
Owner and Architect, 1987 ed. (AIA Document B141). When working with a construction 
manager, see Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect, Construction 
Management, 1980 ed. (AIA Document B141/CM). 

3. The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of Stuart Silver, President, 
Stuart Silver Associates, Scarsdale, N.Y., regarding installation-design issues. 



UPON CONTRACTING with the architect, a project's design phase begins. 
The museum at this point must be prepared, both administratively 
and psychologically. The administrative issues are easily outlined, 
and each v^ill be specifically addressed in this chapter. It is psychological 
factors, however, that can make or break a project. Respect and trust among 
the members of the project team are essential, and it is the responsibility of 
the director of the museum to estabhsh this tone early in the process. If this 
has been handled well in the planning stages and if the staff is kept well 
informed about institutional priorities and how decisions are made and is 
given an opportunity to register its concerns, the job will be made that much 

Buildings are not perfect environments, and yet professional staff can have 
standards of perfection in their own work that simply are not achievable in 
designing and constructing buildings. The most common opinion expressed 
in this project's survey, in fact, was that compromise is inevitable. The direc- 
tor must deliver these simple truths to staff members to prepare them for 
their role in the design and construction of a new facility. During such an 
imperfect process, mistakes will be made and unfortunate circumstances will 
arise that will make some feel lost and discouraged. There is a tendency, 
which should be avoided if possible, to point fingers and look for fault when 
something goes wrong. (This phenomenon grows especially confusing when 
liability issues with consultants and contracts actually require tracing the 
lineage of responsibility to determine responsibility and related financial 
liability.) But at the staff and team partnership level, pointing the finger of 
blame only lessens the effectiveness of the team and is ultimately unproduc- 


Internal personnel and an appropriate review procedure should now be in 
place. Since the design phase begins with the architectural program, the 
program will be reviewed at this time. If the program has been prepared by 
someone other than the design architect, as is generally the case, the design 
architect must have time to become familiar with it. And since the program is 
a working tool, the museum administration must anticipate changes and 
adjustments recommended by the design architect. This is an important 
opportunity to confirm performance criteria, to affirm guidelines that are 
specific to the museum, and to emphasize their importance to the architect. 

And before design proceeds, the museum as client/owner and the architect 
must review, evaluate, and mutually agree on the architectural program. As 
the official written blueprint for the ensuing project, the architectural pro- 
gram is as significant as the later design and construction documents, and it is 
the owner's responsibility to provide it in its final and endorsed form. 


Team is a commonly used term to describe the project-management form for 
designing and constructing buildings. It is a different concept from commit- 
tee. The team is a group of people, each of whom has a specific role in 
managing the job. Collectively, they are the workers. There is always a team; 
it is the only effective management approach to building, whether the project 
is a housing development or a museum (see Fig. 2). As noted in Chapters 1 
and 3, team members may vary throughout the project from planning 
through occupancy. Some players may only be required during a specific 
stage; others will remain from start to finish. In fact, it is highly recom- 
mended for the success of the project that there be continuity in the following 
team members and among the design consultants. 

Project director, museum. As the team captain, the project director provides 
staff leadership and reports directly to the museum director. He or she remains 
responsible for ensuring that appropriate decision making has taken place. 

Project manager, museum. Depending on the size of the project, the muse- 
um may hire what is commonly referred to as an "owner's representative," a 
special consultant who generally comes from the construction professions. It 
is advisable that he or she begin work during the design phase or, at the 
latest, once the construction documents are in progress, some time before 
final documents are completed and the bidding phase begins. This position 
can be full-time or part-time and most likely would be contractually ar- 
ranged. A standard form of AIA contract also exists for this position. 

Project architect (manager), architectural firm. The project architect ad- 
ministers the project from the architect's office and coordinates all work on that 


end. It is important to note that contractually the architect's project manager 
has an obligation to run, or to assign the administration of, all design-review 
meetings during the design phase and to take meeting minutes. 

Project manager, construction-management firm. If the construction- 
management method is selected, this person administers the project for the 
construction-management firm, which, during the design phase, will be esti- 
mating costs and performing critical design reviews to test the building's 
viability. He or she will also lead the effort to monitor costs during design 
and will actually manage the job on behalf of the owner during construction. 
If a general contractor is to be used for the construction phase, these respon- 
sibilities during design are handled by the owner's representative, working 
under the project director. Then, once construction begins, management of 
the job becomes the responsibility of the general contractor's project manag- 
er. In either case, the museum's project director or its owner's representative 
must thereafter oversee the construction manager or the general contractor's 
project manager as well as all other aspects of the ongoing construction 

In addition to the project team, museums can have review committees. The 
principal such "committee" is usually a board review and approval body, 
which is not involved with the daily business of making the building but 
which bears fiduciary responsibility for the museum and therefore has final 
approval. There may also be a separate or integrated staff committee that 
participates in all design reviews. In most instances, the director or the project 
director is the intermediary between the team and the board committee. The 
project director supervises the staff committee, if one exists separately. The 
board committee must also have strong leadership, normally resting with its 

As emphasized in Chapters 2 and 3, who will lead and manage a project 
internally should be determined early in the planning stage. The museum's 
size and internal capability must be reviewed to determine the resources that 
will be required to administer its building project. No matter what size the 
project, no matter how large or small the museum, there are three principal 
institutional players without whom the project cannot be accomplished suc- 
cessfully: a board representative who has accepted the challenge of carrying 
the flag for the project and who represents the board's vision and responsibil- 
ity in decision making; the director, who provides the professional vision and 
leadership and is ultimately responsible for decision making by the staff; and 
the project director, who either is on staff in an expanded existing position or 
is added as a resident consultant for the duration of the project, if existing 
staff resources are not available. By the start of the design process, these roles 
must be fully clarified. 

The first task the director will face is delegating the responsibility of 


managing a project to the project director. In most instances, it is neither 
practical nor reasonable for the director to manage the job directly. And it is 
critical that the director delegate these duties to a qualified person, for the 
project director is responsible for an extraordinary number of daily tasks and 
detailed procedures. 

The director makes decisions regarding the overall administration, the 
physical operation, and the curatorial programming of the museum. The 
architectural program has translated the priorities of the museum into a text 
that will be understood by the consultants. The director's responsibility is to 
work with the professional staff to make sure that the new building's develop- 
ment from planning through occupancy fulfills the objectives set forth in the 
program. It is also the director's responsibility to ensure that decision- 
making and reporting procedures work smoothly. His or her primary con- 
cern, however, is always that the museum building live up to the expectations 
of the board and staff, satisfying the needs of both the collections and the 

The project director's responsibility to the director is to represent the 
professional staff's voice throughout the project's development and to recom- 
mend and oversee appropriate procedures for the project's execution. From 
the planning stages through occupancy, the objectives set forth in the archi- 
tectural program will go through many changes and adaptations, and it is the 
responsibility of the project director to ensure that the museum's interests 
remain paramount and that the obligations of the participants' contracts and 
the design-development process accurately reflect them. It is essential that 
the project director inform the director of all significant events and any 
recommended changes — and it should be stressed that there will be changes. 

Early in the planning process, an institution's vision is either defined or 
redefined. It is the director's charge to ensure that that vision be preserved 
intact. The project director's charge is to implement the project by leading 
the team and realizing the vision embodied in the architectural program. 
Finally, in an attempt to make some distinction between the needs of smaller 
and larger institutions, it should be pointed out that most museums engaged 
in building projects are indeed on the brink of changing scale. Project- 
management structures and procedures, however, should not vary materially. 
What will vary is the commitment required of time and resources, based on 
the magnitude of a given project. 


Under the leadership of the project director, the team at this stage consists of 
the architectural firm's members and consultants; the owner's representative, 
construction manager, or cost estimator; a local government representative, if 
required; and a recommended in-house review body. 


The Architect's Team 

The principal or partner-in-charge will be the architect whose name is on the 
letterhead or the design professional on the basis of whose work the museum 
made its architectural selection. The principal architect will provide the vision 
and the basic scheme for the building as well as guidance and direction on 
design matters throughout the project. Design architects are caricatured com- 
monly as roughing out designs on the backs of napkins over cocktails or lunch 
with a client and passing them on to others to execute. However, there is 
obviously much more to their responsibility. Although approaches to work- 
ing with a client may vary, the principal's role is paramount in any project. 
The ceremonial role of the architect, especially for a museum project, should 
also not be taken lightly, and museum clients often need their architects to 
present projects to prospective donors, local government officials, and com- 
munity leaders. 

The project architect is responsible for administering the project. This 
person will lead the architect's in-house team, not all of whom will be well 
known to museum personnel. The project architect will be a familiar face at 
the museum, coordinating all job meetings and acting as liaison between the 
museum's project director and the subconsultants. As the scribe, the project 
architect is also responsible for taking all meeting minutes. Additionally, he 
or she may have more administrative responsibilities, such as ensuring that 
subconsultants live up to contractual obligations, preparing budgets, billing, 
and dealing with any major problems of job administration. 

The architect's subconsultants will always include mechanical, electrical, 
and structural engineers, whose work is considered part of the architect's 
basic services. (In some cases, owners contract directly with these consul- 
tants, but there can be problems with decentralized liability for a project in 
such instances.) 

Additional consultants can include experts in lighting, security design, 
code and life safety, acoustics, elevators, historic preservation, disability ac- 
cess, and graphics. It is generally advisable to have consultants (with some 
exceptions) be subcontracted by the architect and to have the architect accept 
responsibility for their work. Customarily, architects are entitled to a mark- 
up, usually of lo percent, for such consultants' fees that are not covered under 
basic services. 

Construction Management 

Museums can choose to hire a construction manager to take over responsibil- 
ity for managing project development and construction under a variety of 
contractual arrangements. 

Since preconstruction design-related services can be valuable, the decision 
of whether or not to hire a construction-management firm should be made by 
the start of the design process, during the negotiation of the architect's 


contract. Some institutions choose to contract with a construction manager 
for preconstruction design-related services only; others choose to use an 
owner's representative for this function. In either case, this party will watch 
over design development and provide construction- related advice as design 
proceeds, evaluating designs and determining if they are both buildable and 
within the project budget. 

Construction managers and owner's representatives can also provide a 
service called value engineering, making alternative recommendations to 
build comparable structure in a more cost-effective way than that proposed by 
the architect. For example, if the architect has specified a particular finish for 
an ornamental metal railing, the construction manager might review the 
specification and propose a less expensive alternative, without changing the 
design concept. The result may be that the railing will look the same but be 
hollow instead of solid, at a 30 percent reduction in cost. A specified stone 
flooring of a certain thickness and size of block may need to be set by a stone 
setter. However, if the architect agrees to change the specification, reducing 
the dimensions of the block and the thickness of the stone, then perhaps it can 
be set by a tile setter, reducing not only the cost of the material but also the 
cost of the labor. 

Most architects value these services and are appreciative of cost savings. 
They allow everyone to be able to share in the success of bringing a job in on 
budget. If a change is recommended and the architect does not agree, it may 
be due to an issue of aesthetics or liability, and since the architect's stamp is 
on the documents, he must be in agreement. It is the job of the project 
director to keep the peace and to ensure that there is a harmonious working 
relationship among these parties. 

In-house Administration and Staff Review Committees 

In addition to the project director, there may be clerical personnel assigned to 
manage project documentation, of which there will be volumes, and indepen- 
dent full- or part-time bookkeeping may be required. The clerical burden will 
also be heavier if local government funding is allocated to the job and the 
museum is responsible for accounting for and requisitioning these funds. 
This can increase the work load enough to add an additional part- or full-time 

Staffing must be geared to the size of the project rather than the size of the 
museum. This is especially important for smaller institutions that are sub- 
stantially adding to their size. The members of the project team might out- 
number the regular staff, and in most cases their salaries and benefits will be 
competitive with those in the building industry. Museum salaries, which are 
generally lower than those in private industry, may not be competitive 
enough to hire experienced project personnel. Taking them on as special 


temporary consultants may ease the tension of having to pay salaries that are 
in some cases even higher than the director's. A museum may choose to 
bring them in under special contract and capitalize their expense. It is in any 
case important to remember that the museum is undertaking a project where 
time is money, and experienced personnel can be cost effective. 

In addition to the project administration staff, there can be a staff review 
committee made up of building and collections managers, key players who 
represent the users of the museum. (A new museum or a small one with 
limited staff may have to hire additional consultants for this purpose.) These 
staff representatives review design documents and become a part of the design 
process. The disadvantage of such a method is that it may prolong the process 
and therefore add to its cost. And it is also likely to generate more changes, 
which always cost money. The advantage, however, is that the end result will 
be more responsive to professional needs, and there are likely to be fewer 
changes after the project is built, which can be even costlier. A critical pro- 
cedure for managing this part of the project-design process is to dictate that 
the project director or a designated substitute communicate in a singular voice 
on behalf of such a group with the outside consultants. 

In-house staffing is identified in Figure 2. Reporting directly to the project 
director will be the project administration, including any clerical, accounting, 
or specialized consultants. Also reporting directly to the project director on 
design reviews are the staff representatives. One way of organizing this level 
of input is to identify key functional areas of the museum: for example, 
administration, physical plant, curatorial activity, and public service. Accord- 
ing to this division, a staff committee might include the assistant director or 
the equivalent; the building or operations manager; the chief curator, in- 
stallation designer, collections manager, or registrar; and the principal edu- 
cator or public-information officer. An important member of any such review 
body is someone designated to review designs on behalf of disabled and older 
adults. In fact, it is strongly recommended that an outside consultant be 
considered if an appropriate person is not available on the staff. Architects 
follow code requirements and federal minimum guidelines for making their 
buildings accessible, but the result is not necessarily adequate for a facility to 
be truly "open" to its public or fully user-friendly. 

Professional staff members serving on any such review body have a de- 
manding responsibility. If the museum proceeds with this type of review, not 
only must the participants be prepared to put in the additional time, but 
project planning should take into account the time they will have to give, and 
temporary staff may have to assume some of the usual operational workload. 
Especially demanding is the time required of operations staff. The technical 
detail of the design process is rigorous, and the turnaround during design 
must be kept on schedule. Daily operational crises will interfere, and, if not 
accommodated by staffing-up, the building program may bear the brunt of 


such delays. The museum must prepare for these demands by carrying ap- 
propriate budget allocations to cover such supplemental costs. 


Building is a tough business, a far cry from the perceived gentility of the art 
museum environment. The project director must maintain control of the job 
and must ensure that the museum behaves like a professional client. Muse- 
ums are known to be difficult clients because of the number of challenging 
and often contradicting programmatic needs to be fulfilled. When the project 
is an addition to or a renovation of a functioning museum, the job is particu- 
larly stressful. It is nearly impossible to preserve and care for fragile and 
priceless works of art in a construction site. Many precautions must be taken, 
and the project may need to be carried out in phases as collections are moved 
about, often at extra cost. The quality of the relationship among all the team 
members lies in the hands of the project director. Strong leadership is re- 
quired, along with good statesmanship. 

Every job progresses cyclically. The consultants retrieve information, pro- 
duce designs, and present them to the owner. The owner reviews designs and 
returns them to the consultants. The consultants rework designs and give 
them back to the owner, and so on, until the job is done. To manage this 
process, certain administrative tools are used, which are the same for all jobs: 
meetings documented by minutes and reviews accompanied by written com- 


During the design stage, project meetings should occur every two weeks, 
although this schedule varies with the type of job and the speed with which it 
progresses. The meetings are usually run by the project architect or project 
manager and are always attended by the project director. The minutes, which 
must be kept for every meeting, are taken by the project architect. The 
minutes will serve as the repository for all information and project history 
that later will be called up for reference, so each meeting should be assigned a 
sequential number. The meetings can sometimes be design presentations and 
often are information exchanges between the client and the consultants. 

Presentation and Review 

Preliminary and final design presentations are scheduled periodically. Prelim- 
inary reviews should be presented to the project director to find out necessary 
information from the owner before proceeding further. Final designs are 


presented formally to the director and usually also to the board building 
committee and often to the full board. The catch, if one is working with a 
schedule, is that the owner, as well as the consultants, be required to keep to 
it. If after a final presentation the museum decides to make a change and the 
change can easily be accommodated during the next stage of design, fine. If 
there is a substantial change to be made in the scheme, however, an additional 
review may be required, which can be time-consuming. 

Architects should be aware that institutional clients, because of their inter- 
nal structure, may require a longer review period than commercial clients. 
The project director must develop the schedule for reviews around the avail- 
ability of the director and the board, and the trustees involved in the reviews 
must be aware of their obligation as well. Presentations must be scheduled far 
in advance, and additional time to get the job done should be recognized 
during the contract schedule, since delays will affect fees. 

Reviews are internal. Upon receiving the latest design documents, the 
project director should have them distributed to the members of any in-house 
review committee. All comments from this review body should be analyzed 
by the project director. (Duplicate copies of documents can be a significant 
budget item.) The comments will fall into several categories. 

Request for additional information or clarification. The operations manag- 
er may ask to see a switch diagram for lights in new galleries to give to the 
staff electrician for review. The collections manager may want to have the 
door widths of the freight elevator confirmed. The education or public- 
information office may want to know where a smoking section for visitors 
during special events will be. The assistant director can request verification of 
the placement of computer terminals in the new finance offices and ask if 
there will be buzzer access to the offices. The disability-access consultant may 
ask that the height of the buzzer be verified. 

Corrections. The operations manager may point out that no floor drain has 
been provided in a pump room. The collections manager can note that the 
placement of thermostats in the galleries interferes with installation and ask 
if they can be moved. The public-information officer observes that the check- 
room is too close to the information desk, which might cause a traffic-flow 
problem. The disability-access consultant notes that the baby-changing tables 
in the ladies' room are too high for use by women in wheelchairs and that 
there are none in the men's room, although they had been specified in the 

Scope changes. The operations manager requests that a security console 
room be upgraded in this phase of renovation, even though it was not defined 
in the scope. The collections manager may ask for a change in the layout of 
the art storeroom, which will require additional cabinets. The education spe- 
cialist requests an extra classroom to accommodate a new program for older 


adults and asks for individual seat numbers to be added to the new au- 
ditorium seating. The disabiUty-access consultant identifies the need for an 
infrared system to assist the hearing impaired in the auditorium. 

The project director should request all comments from the staff in writing. 
They can be written directly on the drawings, and all members of the review 
body should sign off on their copies after reviewing each stage of design. The 
project director then summarizes the requests for clarification and the correc- 
tions and returns them to the architect. 

Scope changes are handled differently. Since a scope change will almost 
always result in additional costs, the director and/or the board committee 
chairman should review these requests for change through their formalized 
process. After a decision is made, it must be formally approved and submitted 
in writing to the architect, who will be entitled to extra fees for changes in 

The Decision-making Process 

The procedure for making decisions must be in place at the outset to expedite 
the design schedule. The project director must have access to the museum 
director when required, for example, and should not be forced to be the only 
person responsible for decisions regarding scope changes. The project director 
has the responsibility to report to the director the recommendations of any 
staff review committee. It is the director's responsibility to decide both 
whether change of any magnitude is appropriate and when change is of 
sufficient magnitude to require being brought to the attention of the board for 
review and approval. 

In addition to a formal system of review and approval, which should take 
place at regularly scheduled meetings when decisions are formally approved 
and documented, there is a need for an informal system of approval, so that 
the project director can call on the director or a board designee, when that 
level of approval is required, to make prompt decisions when it is appropriate 
to do so. These informal decisions may be made over the telephone or during 
brief drop-in visits at the office, but they should be documented. A handy tool 
for documenting telephone conversations is a printed telephone memoran- 
dum form. It provides for all appropriate information to quickly be filled in 
by hand, and the handwritten record of the conversation can go straight into 
the file with copies to the appropriate parties. 


After the contract has been negotiated, the team is in place, the procedures have 
been presented and approved, and everyone is at the ready, the first task for 


the architect, in what is a research phase, is to gather as much information as 
possible regarding the program, the site, and the nuances of the institution. 

Museum buildings are specialized building types with requirements and 
performance criteria that challenge physical-plant operations. Throughout 
the design process, the function of the building, the operation of its mechani- 
cal systems, and the operating budget that will be required when the project is 
turned over to the client must always be kept in mind by the board, the 
museum director, and the project director. Requirements for the exhibition 
and safekeeping of the collections are paramount. Public amenities and the 
experience of the visitor, where orientation is a key issue in the layout of 
public spaces, are also vital to the successful operation of the building. The 
special storage and circulation requirements of the collections must be consid- 
ered. These programmatic issues must be continually reviewed during the 
design process. 

Foremost in the architect's consciousness may be the public space of the 
museum, and so the architect's design team must be introduced to the muse- 
um's other circulation requirements. One must track not only the route of a 
visitor from entry through exhibition, but also that of a work of art as it 
leaves its home in storage, goes to conservation to be treated, and then is 
prepared for exhibition. How does it travel through the museum, and what 
are the specific requirements of the collections? Perhaps the collections com- 
prise standard-size cabinet paintings and move easily in and out of normal- 
size elevators on hand trucks; in that case, the requirements are less demand- 
ing than if the museum has a collection of monumental sculpture that must 
be moved using special motorized equipment. Art objects do not travel well 
over stairs and sloped floors. Bumps are to be avoided. Moving oversized 
pieces through a series of spaces with different ceiling heights and undersize 
doorways can be a problem. The architect's job is to accommodate the de- 
mands of transporting the collections as well as of installing them. Less 
attractive is the question of how rubbish will travel through the building. As 
suggested in Chapter 4, if one were to track the visitor, the work of art, and 
the trash on their daily routes, one would cover the most essential museum 
circulation problems. 

Points of entry are a security concern as well as a basic consideration in 
planning visitors' access. What happens when works of art going out on loan 
are being loaded at the same dock where the food concession is receiving a 
shipment? What are the security and conservation implications of such a 
scenario? These are the types of situations that must be anticipated by re- 
viewing daily procedures with the staff. At some point, the architect's staff 
will want to visit the site and observe these functions firsthand. If they do not 
express the desire to do so, it is advisable for the project director to require it. 

The design-development phase can be thought of as a rendering of the 
architectural program. The review of the program by the architect must 
culminate in the formal agreement between the architect and the owner on 


the program as defined by the owner. From concept to drawing, certain 
reahties then are tested. In the testing of those reaUties, changes occur. The 
review process is critical to ensuring the feasibihty of the program. 

The responsibihty of the museum chent through the project director is to 
ensure that the architects understand the program adequately in order to 
make the design functional. Although architects do want to service the client 
museum and do share the client's interest in producing an optimally func- 
tional building, the responsibility for translating the architectural program 
into a finished museum cannot be left entirely to them. Operational and 
functional reviews of design through all stages are essential, and operating 
staff as well as users must be involved. The architects depend on information 
from the prospective users, an exchange that must be expedited by the project 

Not all project leaders will agree on the best forum for and extent of staff 
involvement, and this can be addressed in many ways. However, most archi- 
tects will agree on the importance of staff involvement and will want to talk at 
some point to the actual users of space. Perhaps the best way to handle this 
situation is to make staff members aware, regardless of the forum chosen, 
that their responsibility is to recommend specifications for the use of new 
space, but that their voice ultimately must be spoken through the project 
director and that decisions ultimately are the director's and the board's. 

Utilizing the Program 

During the contract-negotiation stage outlined earlier, the architect will most 
likely have completed in good faith a program review. (For a discussion of the 
development of the program's scope, see Chapter 4.) Site visits will be made 
by the architect at this time to determine what additional information is 
needed. In the case of an extant building, existing building plans will have to 
be verified with field measurements. As-built plans that show specific exist- 
ing conditions may have to be developed. Interviews will be set up with the 
staff and users of the building to enhance the architect's understanding of the 

If there is no extant building, the architects may have to travel to other 
museums with similar collections to get a feel for the job. In general, travel- 
ing with your architect is invaluable. Most institutions are in regions where 
there are similar art museums nearby. If not, the architects should visit a city 
or cities with examples that come close to their vision for their museum and 
spend some time studying what others have done. 

There are plenty of professionals at other museums who are happy to share 
their experiences, and everyone is fascinated and informed by the details of 
the experience of others, especially when they are unusual. At one major art 
museum, where the freight elevator had been sized to accommodate the 


collection's larger pieces, the mechanical engineers sized a duct and ran it 
across the ceiling so that the clearance requirement was not met. At another 
institution, the assigned city architect's mechanical consultant designed the 
electrical system so that one had to go to the fourth floor to turn on the lights 
on the sixth floor. Such snafus happen in the best of circumstances, and the 
more discussion that takes place among colleagues, the more enlightened a 
client the museum will be, and fewer mistakes will be repeated. 

Museum-building projects do not always run a smooth and continuous 
course. Due to lapses in fund raising, turnover in leadership, political inter- 
vention, or a variety of other causes, projects may be stalled periodically. If 
there has been a pause between the time the original program was written 
and the start-up of design, a review of the program should be conducted by 
in-house staff as well as by the architect. 

Perhaps there has been a change of acquisitions policy, or an important new 
donor has appeared with a specific collection requirement that will affect the 
program. The program is a working tool and will change. This is the time to 
make changes if required. 

Phasing of a particular building project should also be considered, for a 
number of reasons. Perhaps the magnitude of the impact on the existing 
operation may be too great to consider doing all at once. Can an institution 
afford publicly to shut down its entire operation while undergoing a major 
redressing? If not, phasing can provide a viable alternative. If a pause has 
occurred due to a shortfall of funds or a sluggish economy and skittish 
donors, perhaps priorities may have to be rethought or the overall project 
scope portioned into priority-directed phases. Multiphased projects are often 
referred to as master plans. 

Performance Criteria 

The architectural program must document a large quantity of specified tech- 
nical criteria. If this outline has been drafted before selecting the architect, it 
must be reviewed, revised, and approved by the architect in advance of the 
design process. In an attempt to introduce program categories for perfor- 
mance criteria and specifications, several appendixes are included in this 
volume. Revising criteria before the design process begins (and, in some 
cases, before the architectural program is finalized) is helpful. 

Appendix A, "Accessibility," describes the process and critical issues in- 
volving accessibility design and use by physically disabled and older people. It 
introduces the concept of universal design. 

Appendix B, "Performance Criteria," reviews relative humidity and tem- 
perature, lighting, air quality, acoustics, weight loads, electrical loads, and 
other performance issues. 

Appendix C, "Climate Control," describes various climate-control systems, 


including specifications for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) 
as well as temperature and humidity controls and how to choose among 
them. This is, perhaps, the single most debated technical issue in the art 
museum field. 

Appendix D, "Lighting," explains various approaches to predicting and 
controlling the effects of light sources. 

Appendix E, "Fire Protection," looks at both fire-detection and fire- 
suppression systems and the inherent dilemma of protecting artworks with 
systems that potentially can also damage them. 

Finally, Appendix F, "Security and Life Safety," reviews techniques for 
assessing the risks to lives and collections. It also discusses how to build 
security considerations into the early design stages and maintain security 
during the construction process. 


At the beginning of design development, the project will have been assigned a 
budgetary order of magnitude, or proposal budget (see Chapter 5). From this 
point forward, the budget must always be determined in relation to the 
current stage of document development. Early budgets are estimated from 
incomplete documentation, and appropriate contingencies should be carried in 
order to cover inevitably swelling costs during the development of the design. 
If budget reporting does not include an appropriate explanation of the related 
status of the design, reflecting adequate contingencies, then the project can 
easily exceed its budget before it gets started. 

The Budget 

Typically, construction budgets are divided into hard and soft costs (for a 
sample budget breakdown, see Table 2). Soft costs include architects' fees and 
reimbursables (including consultants' reimbursables); predevelopment, legal, 
and real-estate costs; special testing and probes; air monitoring and sam- 
pling; travel; meeting expenses; project insurance; filing fees, and the like. 
Early budgets that are based on net square footage hard-cost estimates must 
evolve accordingly. As the design develops, soft costs will increase propor- 
tionally along with hard costs. 

Hard costs are generally referred to as the brick-and-mortar costs. More 
specifically, they are the estimated amounts for the general construction and 
include contractor's mark-ups, overhead and profit, general conditions, esca- 
lation, controlled inspections, and construction contingencies. We now elabo- 
rate particularly on two categories of hard costs — mobilization and occupan- 
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Mobilization Costs 

Mobilization is the term contractors use for the preparation of the site before 
building. It entails a logistical analysis of the site: the grounds, the roadways 
used for the transport of materials, and the positioning of cranes, lifts, and 
other heavy machinery; the utility hookups, toilets, and amenities for the 
workers; and storage areas for building materials and supplies as they arrive 
on site. If the site is an existing operating museum, there are many details to 
be worked out, from the wording of signs on construction fences, to orienta- 
tion and greeting of the public, to the building of partitions that will isolate 
the construction area from the operating museum's functioning spaces. 

The costs of preparing for construction for an existing museum are borne 
in part by both the contractor and the museum. The contractor is responsible 
for clearing and preparing an unoccupied site and for providing protection for 
occupied areas. The museum must evacuate areas that will undergo construc- 
tion and must take precautions for the safety of collections and the ongoing 
operation of the organization. 

The contractor's mobilization costs are usually carried under "general con- 
ditions," a subcategory of spending assigned to the contractor or the con- 
struction manager along with other general site-maintenance costs. Art mu- 
seums, however, must determine the percentage of these costs that will be 
administered directly by museum operations and assigned to another budget 
category. For example, if construction phasing calls for separating gallery A, 
which will continue to operate during the construction period, from gallery 
B, which is to be renovated, the museum must first decide if, in order to 
provide security and control, it wants to build the construction partitions 
itself. If so, the cost must be accommodated in one of its own budget lines, 
and time must be allocated in the construction schedule. 

Often security and protection of the site are provided under general condi- 
tions. The museum may elect to have its contractor or construction manager 
hire an outside guard force, or it may decide to expand existing staff and train 
museum guards to provide protection during construction. The latter option 
provides more control, and the additional costs can then be carried as a one- 
time expense, capitalized as part of the museum's own mobilization budget. 

The moving, temporary storage, and relocation of collections probably 
make up the largest expense under mobilization for art museums. Any col- 
lections either in storerooms or on exhibition that will be in the vicinity of 
construction most likely will have to be moved. The costs associated with 
these moves, which must be budgeted by the museum, include overtime for 
personnel in art handling and conservation, additional temporary personnel 
contracted as a one-time expense, materials and supplies used for the moves 
and for storage, special equipment costs for handling and rigging, and, if the 
collection is to leave the building, off-site leasing costs and transport ex- 


There may also be the costs of relocating staff and reassigning telephones 
and computers. Temporary offices may have to be set up in education class- 
rooms, in galleries, or off site until the end of construction. Loss of revenue 
also should be factored in if retail shops or restaurants have to close tem- 
porarily or if fewer programs that charge fees can take place. 

If a new museum is planning a new building without an existing site, 
temporary office space — and related budget allowances — will have to be pro- 
vided for its staff. If an existing museum is eventually moving to a new 
location, will the project team be situated at the old site or the new site? If a 
building is expanding because of a space squeeze, the project team may reside 
off site, or perhaps in prefabricated structures, and this cost must also be 

Occupancy Costs 

Most costs associated with the interior installations of the building — office 
furnishings, art-storage equipment and cabinets, capital-equipment pur- 
chases, exhibition installation, audiovisual equipment, telephones, comput- 
ers, and window treatments — are part of a separate budget. They may be 
carried in hard costs under the category of FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and 
equipment, or items that are not fixed or attached to any structure or operat- 
ing system). By definition, this category would not usually cover such items 
as fixed seating in an auditorium or an installed wired sound system, which 
would otherwise be part of general construction. It is important primarily to 
make sure that all items are accounted for. For example, hard costs will carry 
the lighting track for the galleries with a sample of various fixtures specified 
by the lighting designer. However, additional fixtures and the cost of bulbs 
(lamping-up costs) may or may not be included. It is the project director's 
responsibility to see that budget estimates cover all the bases. The occupancy 
costs also include office furnishings, from telephones, fax machines, comput- 
ers, and photocopiers to accessories such as wastebaskets. Wiring for office 
equipment should be carried under the general construction categories in the 
budget for hard costs. Floor coverings are generally carried under hard costs 
as part of the contractor's obligation. 

Estimating Costs 

A successful understanding of the cost of a project is totally dependent on the 
estimating process. Most architects do not prepare project estimates, nor 
should they. This responsibility is not usually considered part of their basic 
services, and for the most part, they are not very proficient at it. Either a 
construction manager or an outside cost estimator engaged by the owner's 
representative, or both, should be used. And verification, or second, estimates 
are usually cost effective. 


The frequency of estimates varies, but they should be done at the end of 
each review stage of design and at least twice later, during the development of 
construction documents. Awareness of which expenses are increasing during 
design is crucial to keeping the budget in line. One way to hold costs to 
budgeted levels, as has been mentioned, is to employ value engineering 
where possible; another is to reduce project scope. There is no preferred 
method, but if the scope has to be reduced or project elements redesigned to 
stay within budget parameter, these steps should be taken as early as possible 
while the architect has adequate and informed staff assigned during the 
design stage. 

Future Operating Costs: What No One Wants to Face 

The single most important economic phenomenon acknowledged by the mu- 
seums surveyed (and also universally throughout the field) is that museums 
often are not adequately prepared for the high costs of future operations. 
These costs must be computed as a parallel exercise throughout planning, 
design, and construction, and they will be a major fund-raising issue. Most 
institutions will require either new endowment or other new revenue re- 
sources to supply incremental operating funds (see Chapter 2), and these 
needs should be considered during the planning and programming stages. 

Projecting increases in operating expenses is a key implication of enlarging 
a museum's physical facilities (see Chapter 3). Everything that is added 
requires personnel to operate, often with increased expertise requiring in- 
creased salaries. Energy costs in museums generally tend to be high. Even 
though architects and engineers should consider all opportunities for energy 
efficiency, it is expensive to operate and maintain sophisticated new lighting 
and mechanical systems. 

During design, the client must continually ask. What will it take to operate 
the new building? Extra staff, new equipment, more professional technical 
management? For example, the architect has specified new wood flooring in 
the gallery. The old gallery floor was vinyl tile and was mopped daily. What 
will it cost to pay extra personnel to polish the new floor, and how much will 
be needed for machinery and supplies? The lighting designer has specified 
new fixtures that use a different wattage from those currently used. Will they 
require extra bulbs as well as additional power? The climate-control system 
will require that specialized chemical filters be changed at specified intervals, 
which will add $50,000 to the operating budget, or laying off two security 
guards to cover the cost of the filters. This is the reality that many museums 
have had to face, and capital funds to endow these operating needs are for the 
most part much easier to raise during a related building campaign than is 
general operating support for the same purposes. 


The Schedule: Time Is Money 

If the design is scheduled to take eight months, the architect will plan to 
assign staff personnel for that period. If the museum takes too long to turn 
around reviews and comments, or if delays are caused by the pace of the 
museum's internal procedures, the architect may have cause to charge addi- 
tional fees. It is the project director's responsibility to keep the project mov- 
ing, and the museum director's responsibility to make sure that decisions are 
executed in a timely way and that appropriate board groups are available for 
review as needed. Architects may similarly not always keep to the schedule, 
and the museum's project director must also maintain necessary pressure on 
this side as well. 



THE DESIGN PROCESS is casy to define and never changes, whether the 
building under construction is a courthouse, a garage, or a museum. 
There are three distinct stages: schematics, design development, and 
construction documents. As design progresses, two conditions are guaran- 
teed: there is necessarily less opportunity for change, and the cost estimates 
get higher. 


Once the museum has entered into legally binding contracts with one or 
more consultants, records are required to make a credible case if one of them 
fails to perform. Or there may be cause to revisit an earlier decision, es- 
pecially when analyzing the need for proposed scope revisions. Many records 
should be kept. 

1. Minutes of meetings 

Logs of important telephone conversations 

Fax transmittals 

Incoming and outgoing correspondence 

Copies of contracts (originals and amended versions, if any), letters of 

agreement and intent, and the like 
6. Permits, insurance policies, and so on 

The architect will be keeping a roughly comparable set of files and will be 
responsible for holding all plans and documents relating specifically to the 


design process. What is most important is that approvals and decisions be 
documented in the minutes. No one will remember twelve months after the 
samples were approved why a particular model of smoke alarm was specified. 
Later, when it is time to purchase the equipment and that model has been 
discontinued, the rationale behind the decision may need to be revisited. 

To manage all this paper, the project-management office will have to have 
ample space for filing not only standard-size documents, but project drawings 
and plans as well. The project director will need to refer regularly to the files 
of design documents, and, at the end of the job, contract documents and shop 
drawings, of which there will be many, must be turned over to the building 
facilities or operations office. In many cases, after a capital project is finished, 
especially if it is a single-phased project or a completed multiphased one, the 
remnants of a project-management staff, together with all relevant records, 
are merged with the in-house operations staff — a logical conclusion, since the 
in-house operations manager is the source for in-house technical data before, 
during, and after construction. 

Schematics, or the preliminary schematic-design stage, result in the first 
picture of what a building will look like. This picture will be simple. Adjacen- 
cies will be determined, and the basic shape of the design will appear. This 
will be the architect's first translation of the written program, supplemented 
by research, into a newly interpreted structure. The team will be tested 
during this stage, as the process of presentation, review, and submission of 
written comments commences. This is the period of investigation and explo- 
ration by the architect as well as the staff, who need to be active participants 
in this stage of the review process. 

The earliest drawings may be conceptual, rough sketches, which the archi- 
tect may choose to present to the museum to evoke a first response to the 
design. Toward the end of this phase, the basic design will become a reality, 
and the board and staff review processes will become very important. There 
are specific questions and concerns to review. 

Does the developing design work within the context of the site? Do points 
of entry work? Does the design satisfy parking requirements? How will the 
building relate to its environment: will it rise majestically, as prescribed by 
the program, or will it blend into the site if that is the goal? What are the 
zoning limitations, and have they been adhered to? Have all building codes 
been considered? 

Have the needs of the collections been met? Have the collection program 
adjacencies been considered, as prescribed in the program? Sections and eleva- 



tions should be reviewed, as well as plans. Museum scale is extremely impor- 
tant, especially for the installation of collections. Issues such as ceiling 
heights must also be considered in the developing scheme at this time. The 
architect should walk through the drawings with the staff — from the arrival 
of a work of art at the loading dock, through the various handling procedures, 
to its final home either in storage or on display. 

Does the design respond to operational needs? It is not too soon for the 
operating engineers to question the location and size of mechanical spaces, or 
for the registrar to identify freight-loading and -unloading issues. Have the 
architects departed from the original program and recommended changes? Do 
these changes work? The architect should walk the staff through the route of a 
shipment of non-art freight from its arrival to its destination. The architects 
should also take out the garbage in a similar exercise. The security manager 
should test a general staffing plan for guards in the public spaces, with their 
positions noted on copies of the drawings. All assumptions should be tested. 

Have the needs of the visitor been met? The first questions to be asked 
should concern accessibility. Drawings of sections and elevations must be 
reviewed. There are few one-story museums. This is therefore the ideal time 
to discuss access not only for physically and sensory disabled visitors, but for 
general visitors as well. How do they get to the cafe, book shops, and au- 
ditorium? What about access after-hours for visitors to special programs? 
What entrance would they use? Can visitors have access to the cafe from the 
auditorium after-hours without sacrificing museum security? 

Checklist. Have all program requirements been incorporated? Now is the 
time to review details (how many toilets? closets?), since they need to be 
developed and corrected in the next phase. 

At the end of this phase, a new budget estimate should be developed, and 
the job will grow increasingly real. A design contingency should be carried 
through the various design stages to allow for creeping costs based on final 
decisions on materials and other design criteria. In the schematic phase, the 
budget estimate represents schematics only and is not final. Caution is there- 
fore in order when presenting preliminary figures for board committee re- 
view. The greatest opportunity for change is between the schematics and the 
next stage of design development, and this is therefore concomitantly the 
greatest opportunity for costs to escalate. Now is the time to verify pro- 
cedures for cutting back: How can the project stay on budget? Who will make 
what decisions? 

Some serious projections for operating costs are now also in order, calcula- 
tions that should develop along with the design and should always be a part of 
the design-review process. Architects and engineers should help in looking 
for possible operating- and maintenance-cost savings because requisite en- 
dowment funds and operating grants to support such costs are not glamorous, 
nor are they as easy to come by as capital construction donations. 


Preliminary engineering and other specialized design efforts must start 
during schematics, and related issues raised at this time will need to be 
fleshed out during design development. 


The architect's subconsultants now have a scheme to respond to and can start 
to create the systems that will merge with it. In addition, the museum's 
review of the schematics will give more information to the architects, to be 
rendered accordingly. When architectural plans are drafted, the architectural, 
structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, security, and lighting plans are 
drafted separately. It is the responsibility of the architect to ensure that the 
documents are coordinated (a term that will be used frequently). It is es- 
pecially difficult to coordinate completion of all consultants' efforts, since 
some plans are dependent on other consultants' work, and a delay early in the 
process can have ramifications throughout the planning process. 

In-house personnel must request a lot of clarification and in writing. Even 
though it may be the consultants' responsibility to do so, it cannot be as- 
sumed that consultants will remember all critical needs and priorities while 
coordinating documents. That is how ducts are installed that interfere with 
specified ceiling-height clearances and how electrical switches end up on the 
wrong floors. It is impossible to overstate the importance of museum man- 
agement and staff review during the design-development phase, when some 
of the most expensive components of the museum (i.e., mechanical systems) 
are being chosen. Mistakes made now are very costly to correct at later 

By this stage, there should be someone on staff with the professional 
expertise to analyze the technical specifications in the documents with an 
acumen beyond that of most museum professionals. Such supervision is the 
owner's direct responsibility, as will be the expense of correcting oversights. 

As mentioned in Chapter 7, if the designer of the museum's collection 
installations has not been chosen by this time, that decision must now be 
made. It was an overwhelming consensus of this project's survey that muse- 
ums prefer to use either their own staff or a museum-design specialist to 
execute these installations. The nature of these installations will differ, de- 
pending on the nature of the collections, and these efforts should be concur- 
rent with overall design development. 

At the end of design development, a precise, well-organized body of infor- 
mation should be in hand. 

1. Architectural plans, elevations, and sections depicting every compo- 
nent of the art museum. Special attention should be paid to junction 
points. Elevations of portal-types for all public spaces should also be 
reviewed. These details are very important aesthetically. 


2. Mechanical, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), plumb- 
ing, sprinkler, and electrical outline plans, and key details and cal- 

3. Site plans indicating landscaping grading and all roads and points of 
access. The site plan should include a roof plan and may also be 
requested at smaller scale in order to encompass more of the site and 
provide a sense of the design's relationship to the site, since the 
approach to a museum is usually an important part of the design. It 
is also important to check disability access. 

4. An outline specification draft that will begin to spell out material 
types written for each trade or subcontractor. 

5. A cost estimate. 

6. Presentation documents. The institution's fund-raising require- 
ments may call for special color renderings of certain public spaces, 
especially if they are to be presented to potential donors for naming 
opportunities. Since the production of presentation documents and 
models is usually not included in the architect's basic-services fee, a 
budget for them, with a cap, should be established. Simple design 
matters such as portals that can bear a donor's name over the door or 
the specification of bronze- instead of steel-toned letters may be 
significant from the fund-raising perspective. 

A museum might at this stage consider having its design-development 
estimate verified by a second source. No matter how good the cost estimator 
or construction manager, everyone makes mistakes, and it is always the client 
who must pay for such mistakes. It is therefore better to spend a little extra 
up front for this purpose. 

This is also a good time for the director and the board to declare a "no 
changes" policy — an effective tool that can help the project director keep the 
job in line. There will almost always be a cost associated with change, es- 
pecially after the design-development phase. For any changes proposed here- 
after, it is important to consider if it is a scope change, which bears additional 
design fees and hard costs. How will it affect the schedule, keeping in mind 
that time is money and the clock is ticking? 


Construction documents are the working drawings and specifications that are 
drawn up in the final phase of design. They are also known as bid documents 
or contract documents, along with the written contract, special conditions, 
and general conditions. They are a package of precise and detailed drawings 
and written specifications that enable builders to prepare bids and see to the 
job's construction. 


obviously, the package for an art museum will be a bulky one. Indeed, the 
preparation of the construction documents is the architect's single most time- 
consuming task. Tedious to review, they take considerably more time than 
earlier documents. Often, they are considered too technical and are not re- 
viewed carefully enough by the museum's technical staff. They also require 
an allotment of time that most regular staff cannot afford to give. However, 
these documents are not simply a guarantee of design agreements between 
the architect and the owner, but a binding contractual attachment, and there- 
fore their details must be reviewed thoroughly. It is at this point that details 
are presented that can, for example, make or break the ultimate accessibility 
of the museum for the disabled visitor (e.g., 1/2-inch thresholds at a door can 
effectively block a wheelchair). Although review of such detail gets weari- 
some, now is not the time to tire. 

During the preparation of construction documents, final budget figures 
will be developed. Operating projections should be ready for presentation as 

Changes made at this stage will affect cost estimates and are difficult to 
execute because of the architect's coordination that must occur among all the 
subconsultants' documents. A change in the security plans may affect the 
electrical design as well as documents for other disciplines. By the end of this 
stage, all materials will also be specified and all approvals given. Samples 
should be mounted on boards and retained. Museums are especially sensitive 
to hardware concerns in public spaces. Samples should be reviewed whenever 
possible, and mock-ups of specialized custom work should be prepared. These 
are seemingly costly, but in the end, they are cost effective. In some cases, 
models of full-scale sections of galleries should be made, especially to test 
lighting; even though these mock-ups may cost a considerable amount of 
money, they can save much more in the end. 

Design clarifications should be requested at this stage whenever possible. 
Thermostat placement, for example, may be a detail of little consequence to 
other building types, but if such details are not specified on the drawings for 
museum buildings, the contractor may resolve them in the field, often lead- 
ing to costly amendments later. 

At the end of this phase, the project is ready to bid. This is an appropriate 
time to verify the procedures for filing for building permits, which can be a 
time-consuming process. If the architect can expedite the filing process, it 
should be discussed now and implemented while bidding is under way. 


Project Continuity 

Museum jobs sometimes start and stop, which costs money. Caution should 
be taken to proceed only when funding is assured, and. steps should be taken 
to make sure that contracts can be suspended between design stages. 


Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown's design for the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, 
Texas, developed from early sketches (a) and evolved through a final scheme depicted in 
this 1985 model (b). (Courtesy Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, Inc.) 


Project continuity is extremely important for an art museum. Internal plan- 
ning must be handled prudently, and it must be understood that any schedule 
that is to be attached to a contract governs all parties — the consultants and 
the museum alike. If a project involves an existing, ongoing operation and the 
museum is scheduled to shut down a part of its operation by a certain date 
and cannot do so, that delay will be costly. If fund-raising efforts lapse, 
causing a delay, that delay will be costly. Any time added to the project will 
cost the museum money; this is simple economics, and such delays should be 
avoided. However, the consultants must also understand that delays can — 
and realistically do — occur. 


Government Oversight 

If public money will be used to fund a project, the museum may be requested 
to submit design documents to a government review agency. Local govern- 
ments usually keep a watchful eye on budgets. Some cities actually execute 
the construction contracts on such jobs or require that certain city or county 
regulations be followed. Government involvement invariably slows a job, 
which usually ends up costing more as a result of the delay. 

Many cities have historic-landmark or art-commission reviews of city- 
owned properties. Projects with federally funded challenge grants for con- 
struction involving historic buildings might also require review by state 
historic-preservation officers. All such reviews require time. 

Legal Issues 

In many cases, the museum's land can be the local government's contribu- 
tion, and its buildings eventually are subject to city or state ownership at the 
end of a leasing-agreement term. There can also be jurisdictional issues 
between city and state or state and county authorities over gifts of land. 
These legal issues may add time to the schedule and expense to a project's 

Terms of legal agreements with donors who are naming spaces should be 
made available to the project director, who needs to know if special design 
detailing or other considerations should be made. 

Most existing museums are aware of their zoning and land-use re- 
strictions. For new buildings, environmental-impact studies have to be done 
and appropriate land-use and zoning regulations investigated. 

With the passage in 1990 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any place 
of public accommodation can be liable for noncompliance with accessibility 
codes. Retrofit can also be exceedingly expensive, and thus initial compliance 
must be ensured. 

Hazardous Materials 

The removal of hazardous materials from a site can also be costly and time 
consuming. The most prevalent problem is with asbestos. A museum that 
was built between 1890 and 1980 can be plagued with this problem. Asbestos 
was used instead of horsehair in the 1890s as a binding agent in the under- 
coats of plaster to help it adhere. Its continued use through the twentieth 
century is prevalent; it might appear in ceiling and floor tiles, or it might 
have been sprayed on as a fireproofing agent. One museum recently spent $4 
million of its $23 million budget for construction hard costs to remove as- 
bestos-contaminated plaster. Addressing the problem of hazardous materials 


can be so costly that it can eliminate a particular building or site from 
consideration as a location. Major design reconsiderations may have to be 
made because of prohibitive removal costs. 

Architects, construction managers, and general contractors may not touch 
asbestos because of insurance-liability restrictions, so that one of the first 
specialized consultants hired for a project in an existing building should be a 
specialist in environmental testing and hazardous waste. Museums must 
beware and be prepared. 

Site Considerations 

Is the site in an earthquake area or a sinkhole area, or is it vulnerable to any 
geological irregularities? Is it subject to flooding or hurricanes, or is it in the 
line of chaparral fires? Has access to the site by public transportation, major 
streets, highways, and the like been investigated? 


Design is a very heady process. It is a creative and constructive one. Thus far 
everything is on paper, and there is as yet no dust. Information on the 
progress of the job needs to be shared with the staff, the entire board, and the 
public. That sense of progressive accomplishment and anticipation will bene- 
fit development and fund-raising efforts, as well as the morale of all involved. 




THE START of construction is the beginning of the hard reaUty of any 
project. During the design phase, the staff and director are challenged 
yet elated. Drafting the vision is a grand and positive experience. 
Getting it all down on paper, tidily designing to produce a beautiful yet 
functional museum, is an exhilarating task. But from ground breaking until 
the doors part on opening day, the construction period is a roller-coaster ride 
of highs and lows. The joy of watching structure take form and realizing the 
effort that went into making it happen can be interrupted by incidents such as 
shortages of critical materials, unexpected field conditions, contract disputes, 
and labor problems. Controlling the bottom line becomes the overriding 
issue. And a tight, efficient management structure is imperative. 

The design phase of a project ends with the final execution of the complete 
construction drawings or bid documents, including not only plans but also 
written specifications, although the design of the building can in reality 
continue virtually until the end of construction. During the bidding process, 
the management team that will oversee construction should be in place. This 
term is composed of three players: the owner, the architect, and the contrac- 
tor. It is the close interaction of the three that makes for a successful job. 


The Contractor: Construction Manager or General Contractor? 

Deciding who will build the structure is as important as determining who will 
design it, so that the selection of the contractor(s) now is as important as was 





The evolution of design takes on various forms, as in the case of The Brooklyn 
Museum's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium (Arata Isozaki & Associates/James 
Stewart Polshek and Partners, 1991). The initial concept was introduced in a rough 
sketch (a), showing an elaborate ceiling design, and was later presented to the client in 
a computer-generated drawing (b). The rendering (c) was commissioned for 
presentation purposes, and construction (d) was finally fmished with the opening on 
April 9, 1991 (e). (Courtesy The Brooklyn Museum. Photos [c-e] : Pat Bazelon) 



During construction, two-dimensional designs unfold in the emergence of three- 
dimensional physical structure, as in these views of the Seattle Art Museum (Robert 
Venturi). One can compare these views of the museum during construction in 1991 (a 
and b) with an earlier model (c) and a longitudinal section (d). (Photos [a and b]: Jim 
Ball, [c and d] Courtesy Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, Inc.) 

the selection of the architect. Early in design, the owner must decide whether 
it wants to use a construction manager (CM) or a general contractor (GC). 
In today's construction industry, general contractor has come to mean the 
principal or prime contractor. When the term GC is used contractually, it 
means that a principal contractor is given total responsibility for the entire 
job, generally on the basis of a fixed-price contract, and is financially obli- 
gated to bring the job in on schedule and on budget. The general contractor 
can staff certain trades directly and subcontract the specialized trade work, 
such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (for sample trade list, see Table 
3). Alternatively, all work can be subcontracted with individual trade contrac- 



tors. In either event, all subcontractors, representing the various trades, are 
directly responsible to the GC, not to the owner. 

An alternative is to engage a construction manager. The construction man- 
ager can be hired either on a guaranteed-maximum-price (GMP) basis or as a 
consultant. With a GMP arrangement, there is little difference between using 
a construction manager and a general contractor, in terms of the operational 
control over the subcontractors on the job. On the other hand, the construc- 
tion manager hired as a consultant is essentially an agent for the owner, 
assuming the GC's role as broker to the trades, but without responsibility for 
final cost or schedule and without risk financially, i 

Before selecting a CM firm or a GC, the museum must have an oppor- 
tunity to meet the team members who would be assigned to the job by the 
firm, since it is the skill and experience of the individual team members, 
especially the project manager or executive in charge, that will complete a job 
successfully. A project manager who has worked on other museum jobs and 



^ 1 rori h 

has had experience primarily with other institutions, such as hospitals and 
schools, would appear to be more desirable than one whose experience is 
primarily with office buildings and housing. 

The Museum's Management Structure 

During construction, a management structure similar to that of the design 
team during the design phase should be in place. In fact, continuity is critical 



An excellent example of renovation and rehabilitative use in a single facility is the 
transformation at The Brooklyn Museum of the Renaissance Hall (a) (McKim, Mead & 
White, 1927) to a temporary, 300-seat lecture hall in 1934 (b). The area was 
reconstructed in 1990 (c) to create 10,000 square feet of climate-controlled art-storage 
space (d) (Arata Isozaki & Associates/James Stewart Polshek and Partners) housing 
collections of paintings, sculpture, costumes, textiles, and Egyptian and classical objects. 
(Courtesy The Brooklyn Museum. Photos: [a-cj The Brooklyn Museum; [d] Pat 











Mechanical and 


Site improvements Concrete 
Demolition Structural steel 

Hazardous waste 









HVAC (heating, 


air conditioning) 



Security systems 

Fire-detector systems 



Lath and plaster 




ceramic tile 



Wood flooring 

Stone flooring 





Interior glass 



Theater seating 

Note: For a complete listing, see Construction Specification Institute categories. 


at this juncture. The in-house project director remains the team captain (see 
Fig. 2). The architect may plan to change project managers, choosing to use 
certain personnel with design expertise during the design phase and construc- 
tion specialists during the construction phase. The museum must reserve the 
right to insist that there be continuity, however, and to approve all changes of 
personnel, making sure that there is adequate continuity throughout, es- 
pecially from design through construction. 

Construction is the most demanding phase of the job, requiring inordinate 
vigilance and supervision. An institution's board leadership and committee 
structure must remain in place, and decision-making procedures and checks 
and balances must be well understood. The owner's representative, architect's 
project manager, and CM's (or GC's) project manager must all report to or 
through the museum project director. The project director and director must 
continue periodically to report on the job's progress to the board review 
committee and the full board. 

The Owner's Representative 

Owner's representative is a term that usually applies to an individual, but a 
management firm can also fulfill the role. The owner's representative is 
generally hired under the project budget as a consultant to the museum's 
project director and as a member of the construction team to help oversee 
construction. The person in this position is especially helpful when there is 
not particular or specialized expertise on staff with construction management 
experience. The primary areas of responsibility for the owner's representa- 
tive are cost and quality control and schedule monitoring of the CM or GC to 
make sure that the project remains on time and on budget. This person is 
being paid by the museum, and his or her allegiance is to the museum and 
not to any of the outside parties. 

The owner's representative's focus should always be time, cost, quality, 
and special problems. The owner needs to review any changes the architect 
requests, and their necessity and cost should always be challenged. Most 
changes will be technical, and less costly methods should be sought to achieve 
them. While this is also the job of the CM or GC, the owner's representa- 
tive's role is to participate for the benefit and protection of the museum. 
Some museums also hire cost-control firms to provide this service. Special 
problems might include scheduling long-lead items such as sun-controlled, 
louvered shades and skylights; elevators; transformers; and custom furnish- 
ings for art storage, which may need to be coordinated with interior installa- 


tion. In addition, there may be site-related coordination requiring special 
handling, such as hoists or hfts. These are all problems that the GC or CM 
should be solving for the client, but the owner's representative monitors the 
CM or GC to ensure proper attention to critical issues of quality, schedule, 
and cost. 

The owner's representative may require a clerk of the works, who reviews 
the job's progress in the field and whose specific function is to verify that 
what is built in the field conforms with what is specified in the construction 


The Estimate 

During the planning and design phases, several periodic estimates from "first 
budget" to 100 percent construction documents (CDs) will have been pre- 
pared. Estimates should occur at specific percentages of completion stages — 
that is, 40, 60, and 100 percent or 50 and 100 percent. The 100 percent CD 
estimate is the last estimate before bidding, unless substantial changes have 
occurred or significant time has elapsed, and any changes that appear as 
documents are finalized should be incorporated. It is essential to verify the 
estimate, since it is, after all, only an increasingly sophisticated guess, es- 
pecially with the highly specialized finishes and complex technical aspects of a 
museum building. 

Estimating is done by using a variety of methods. There are prescribed 
industry standards in the form of unit costs that can be used at an advanced 
stage of design. Price quotes are received from suppliers and contractors. If 
the design calls for standard finishes and equipment, the guess will be more 
accurate than if the design calls for special materials, supplies, and equip- 
ment, such as, for the museum client, stone finish for a restoration project to 
match existing stone or custom chemical air-purification filters specified by 
the mechanical engineers. Ambiguities in estimating are more likely to occur 
in museum buildings where the CM or cost estimator may not have had prior 
experience costing out specialized items such as these. 

The accuracy of the estimate will be revealed as the bids are awarded and 
the contract price is determined; the budget may require adjustment if these 
awards vary from the original estimates. 



Particularly at this stage, planning and design cannot be fully resolved, and 
no decisions are final. Budgets should therefore carry a contingency alloca- 
tion, specifically to accommodate the unknown, the unresolved, and the as 
yet unforeseen. 

Contingency is also the budget line against which changes are charged (see 
Chapter 12). A good practice is to charge only field-related changes and 
essential scope changes against contingencies. All other optional changes in 
scope should require a budget adjustment and appropriate review and ap- 
proval; the board and the director should be especially concerned about how 
all such additional costs are handled. 

At each stage of the estimate, contingencies must be reviewed. In projects 
that involve adding to an existing structure, such as renovation and historic 
restoration where many unknown conditions exist, the construction con- 
tingency is usually 10 to 12 percent. For museums, this figure should be at 
least 15 to 20 percent. The problem with a contingency is that designers and 
builders often perceive it as a cushion to cover initial cost problems. Responsi- 
ble architects and contractors will share the client's concern about bringing 
the job in on schedule and on budget. 

One way in which the museum can protect itself is to carry a management 
reserve as part of its cost. This percentage, not made known to outside 
consultants, can allow the museum to cover unforeseen cost increases and 
effectively provide additional contingent resources. 

Operating Expenses During Construction 

Certain one-time expenses incurred during construction legitimately belong 
in the capital budget and should be accounted for as part of a project's cost. At 
the same time, a museum should be careful not to use the construction 
budget as budget relief for the operating budget, which can be tempting at 
such times when capital budgets seem large and operating budgets can be 
particularly strained. 

Personnel costs are the most difficult such costs to identify and segregate. If 
there are one-time expenses that are solely related to the construction of a 
new area, they can be incorporated as capital items. A museum might, for 
example, need administrative staff for the construction office, security guards 
for site security and site supervision of the contractors, or art handlers to 
relocate collections to be housed specifically on the new site. 



There are several types of contracts and a number of ways to pay for con- 
struction work. 2 

Lump Sum, or Fixed Price 

A lump sum, or fixed price, contract stipulates an amount agreed to by the 
contractor as the price of a job, based on the bid documents. This is the most 
straightforward and risk-adverse form of construction contracting, particu- 
larly when done on the basis of fully complete construction documents. Any 
additional work not specified in the contract documents is considered a change 
and will have related costs, for which budget contingencies become extremely 
important. Additional work that is not part of the lump-sum bid is charged 
based on an agreed-on method of payment, usually on a cost plus — or mate- 
rials plus labor, overhead, and profit — basis. 

Cost Plus 

The cost plus contract is used only in unusual circumstances, such as when a 
project is proceeding on a fast-tracked basis. Sometimes speed is essential, 
and the cost plus method can be used to get a job moving when there is no 
time to prepare complete contract documents. If this method is used, extra 
contingencies must be built into the estimates. The contractor bills the actual 
cost of materials and labor plus overhead and profit or fee. This is an open- 
ended arrangement, and the contractor has no incentive or risk to bring the 
job in at a predetermined and agreed-on price. It is the method of least control 
but greatest speed. In times of high inflation — or when external pressures 
dictate a project schedule — this approach may be considered desirable or 
necessary. However, it has many potential dangers and should not be chosen 
without careful consideration. 

GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) 

The GMP method is also frequently used in situations where contract docu- 
ments are not complete. Usually this method carries a clause that provides for 
any underruns or cost savings to be shared with the CM or GC as an incentive 
for the contractor or CM to finish the job under budget. Sometimes, when 
using this method, owners prefer to give the contractor a greater share in the 


savings to increase this incentive. This method has the least risk when used 
on a new building of a standard type, but care must be taken that ad hoc 
substitutions not affect the quality of the building in an effort to reduce costs 
aggressively. Museum projects, especially those that involve renovation or 
restoration, come with many uncertainties, making this method less desirable 
than the lump sum or the cost plus approach. 

Penalties and Incentives 

Penalty clauses in construction contracts are usually added to protect against 
delays, especially if there must be a guaranteed opening or delivery date. 
Where penalties are provided, offsetting incentives must also be offered. And 
incentives such as premiums or bonuses can help contractually where there is 
a tight schedule or where completion deadlines are absolutely critical. Recent 
practice in construction litigation shows that penalty clauses are most en- 
forceable when balanced by incentive clauses, so they go hand in hand. Both 
are very hard to enforce from the point of view of the benefiting party, as 
there are always offsetting issues to argue. Their main value is therefore 
often psychological. 


The loo percent construction documents, including narrative specifications, 
contract conditions, and plans and drawings, make up the bid documents. Yet 
during the review of the construction documents and the early start of the 
job, changes will still take place. Changes made prior to the award of the 
contract are known as addenda. Addenda are issued by the architect, reviewed 
and approved by the owner, and added to the bid document package. The price 
associated with such add-ons is included in the bid. After the contract is 
awarded, a bulletin is usually issued to initiate a change. Addenda and bul- 
letins are very important documents that must be kept in a master file. As 
soon as changes are approved, they must be recorded on the plans and specs 
(see Chapter 12). 


Most museums require a ceremonial start and finish to a project. Adhering to 
a construction schedule is very important for publicity; press releases must 
be sent, and public and private gatherings need to be planned and held on 
time. Since jobs often take longer than originally planned, museums should 
give themselves an ample cushion of time in planning for ceremonial open- 
ings. If delays occur because of a labor action or shortage of materials and 
public announcements have been distributed, invitations sent, and speakers 






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Figure 3. Sample museum project schedule. (Courtesy HRH Construction Corporation) 

engaged, most likely the institution will still have to open on time, but at a 
cost. Projects that are behind schedule have been known to be brought in on 
time with a serious push at the end — and often it takes a firm date to 
galvanize completion — but this can mean large overtime bills, other related 
costs, and hastily executed finishes. It is wise to try to budget for both a delay 
contingency and a cushion of time. Contractors should not be apprised of the 
details of any such delay cushion, but often they will assume that one exists 
(see Chapter 15). 

Coordinating the construction schedule with the occupancy of the new 
facility is essential (Fig. 3). More often than not, many new players appear at 
the time of occupancy, since interiors are often built or installed by separate 
teams. Architects can have special clauses in their contracts specifically out- 
lining interior coordination and installation of furnishings as other than basic 
services, an arrangement that should be clarified during the negotiation of the 
architect's contract. Some large firms have a separate division that deals 
exclusively with interiors. This arrangement can also apply to contractors and 



construction managers. There may be custom-designed art-storage furnish- 
ings that have structural and electrical requirements. Some exhibition in- 
stallation may require structural and mechanical services as well as special 
design services. As mentioned in the preceding chapters, the use of the 
project architect for exhibition-installation design can be controversial, and 
museums are urged to seek the advice of their experienced museum col- 
leagues regarding different approaches. 

The project director must keep a close eye on the construction schedule and 
the move-in date. Building tests for mechanical systems have to be accommo- 
dated in the schedule. (This point is elaborated in more detail in Part IV, but is 
mentioned here as a reminder to chart the course in advance, leaving ample 
time for testing and installation.) Museums especially require climate-control 
testing before art can be moved into storage and exhibition areas, and conser- 
vators ideally prefer six months to test and adjust systems through seasonal 
changes. It is rare to have this luxury. 

A fast-tracked job is one in which the design is not finished, but, due to 
schedule pressures, the work must commence. Building according to design- 
development documents or incomplete CDs bears great risk and should be 
considered only if time is truly of the essence (Table 4). It is impossible to 
guarantee that the job will be finished on budget, but compensation is looked 
for in time saved and related financing costs. If there is no such payback, 
there is no benefit. While changes are usually made to contract documents 
throughout their development, during fast tracking they are likely to be made 
in bricks and mortar rather than on paper. This approach is certainly not cost- 
effective, but, weighed against the value of a timely early start, it may be 
justified in the end. 

Originally, this technique was developed to offset financial carrying costs, 
rapid inflation, or expiring trade union-contract periods; and the client or 
user to employ this method most frequently has been the private developer. 


Method Cost Time 

Fast track 

Greatest risk 

Fastest start 


Less risk 

Medium start 

Fixed price 

Least risk 

Slowest start 



Whether the choice has been made to go with a GC or a CM, legal counsel is 
key before deciding on the type of contract to use. The AIA has produced 
standard forms of agreement for each method discussed earlier: lump sum, 
cost plus, and GMP. It is essential that the owner, the owner's legal counsel, 
and the architect review the standard contract form. 

It is equally important to review certain items for which the contractor is 

General Conditions 

One of the most substantial and elusive costs of a project, general conditions, 
must be thoroughly understood by the owner from the beginning. Table 5 
outlines the types of costs that may fall under the category of general condi- 
tions. A CM may have a lower fee but a higher percentage of general condi- 
tions. This is an important line item in the budget and must be explained in 
detail by the CM or GC. General conditions are often fixed at a percentage of 
the cost of construction or, with a GC, as a fixed portion of the lump sum 
contract amount. 


Insurance is a substantial part of the cost of construction. The owner pays for 
the cost of each contractor's or subcontractor's insurance. Depending on the 
magnitude of the job, the institution may retain a "wrap-up" policy, which is 
an umbrella policy including comprehensive general liability and worker's 
compensation for all contractors. If the owner expects to carry a wrap-up 
policy, it is best to have the contractor identify the cost of insurance sepa- 
rately so it can be part of the negotiation, and the price fixed. Insurance 
decisions take time and should be made at the time of contract development. 
It can be more expensive if the contractor or subcontractors make an alloca- 
tion to the owner for their cost of insurance, especially because there is no 
way to verify the contractor's allocated cost. In fact, the contract should 
permit an audit of the contractor's payroll and premiums. 

Also, the owner must carry builder's risk insurance. Builder's risk covers 
the value of the construction to insure the building while under construction. 
It covers labor and materials for the new project. If an existing building is 
being renovated, the policy covers only within the limit of the site bound- 
aries. An amendment that would also cover the existing building is beneficial, 
since the nature of construction during renovation or expansion enhances the 
risk of significant damage to extant buildings due to such catastrophes as fire 
or flood. 



job office 
and personnel 



Project manager 


Assistant superintendent 

Engineers and assistants 

Master mechanic 

Mechanical superintendent 

Office clerk 


Project office and furniture 


Project petty-cash expenses 

Travel expenses, main 

office personnel 

Tjol sheds and workmen's 


Temporary fences and gates 

Temporary toilets, 

Temporary roads 

Temporary overhead 


Temporary water and 


Temporary electric power 

Temporary ladders and 


Temporary light and 


Temporary heat and 


Temporary bridges and/or 


Rubbish chutes 

General cleaning 

Rubbish removal 

Cleaning supplies 

Final cleanup and punch lists 

Washing windows 

Small tools, rainwear, and 


Blueprints and offsets 

Project signs 

Glass breakage 

Replacement of lost or stolen 


Operation of hoists 

Hoists and towers rental 

Operation of house cars 

Miscellaneous scaffolding 


Opening and closing 

windows during temporary 


Walk, street, and drain 


Extermination service 

Winter protection 

Environmental control 

Teamster shop steward 

Miscellaneous protection and 



Engineering surveys 

Progress photographs 

Ceremony expenses 

Material inspection and 


Liquidated damages 

Insurance, payroll taxes, 

and funds 

Fire extinguisher insurance 

Contingent, contractual, 
and miscellaneous 
Completion and 
performance bond 



A payment bond is a guarantee from a surety company to the owner that in 
the event of a failure of the contractor to complete the work, the cost to finish 
will be covered. 

Bonds are another expense that must be budgeted. Most private jobs using 
known reputable contractors do not require bonding. Government projects, 
however, generally mandate that contractors carry payment and performance 
bonds, although some exceptions are made for small businesses or minority 
contractors. Contractors will charge a premium to the owner for carrying a 
bond, and this premium should not be overlooked in the estimate. 

Contractors' Rules and Regulations 

The contract should be explicit about regulations governing the contractor and 
work crews. This is most important when construction is being done in an 
existing museum, since construction work is so incompatible with ongoing 
operations. To establish the ground rules from the beginning of construction, 
certain regulations should be mandated in the contract. One especially impor- 
tant issue is the relocation of artwork. For example, a contractor installing 
and drilling in an approved area may, due to unforeseen conditions, have to 
get into an adjacent restricted area, such as a gallery or an art storeroom, to 
complete the work. Contractors do not usually understand what is required 
to move a piece of art. It may be a 3,000-pound sarcophagus that requires 
special rigging and several days to make the necessary arrangements. It may 
be a contemporary wall- and floor-bound work that requires a special crew to 
move and, often, advance notification to the lender. A seventy-two-hour 
clause is helpful, stating that the museum has the right to delay the contrac- 
tor until necessary arrangements have been made. Security regulations re- 
garding workers' access to the site demand a detailed, preset game plan 
involving the museum's security management. If the museum's public cafe 
has seating for only thirty visitors and the construction crew has thirty 
workers in dirty work clothes, the museum may want to reserve the right to 
consider the cafe off limits to construction crews. 


The Bidding Process 

The bidding process falls between design and construction and constitutes the 
period when, through GC selection or ongoing CM activity, the construction 
of the project is priced and contracted. 

During the bidding period, design is still taking place in many cases, as 


final reviews indicate that addenda to the design are mandatory. It is during 
the bidding stage that the inevitability of further changes begins to sink in. 
As many times as one thinks there will be no more, another arises. Changes 
also continue to be issued as bids come in from subcontractors. 

Competitive Bidding versus Direct Selection 

The desired method of selecting a CM, a GC, or trade contractors is com- 
petitive bidding. Competitive bidding to select a GC or trade contractors 
allows a number of contractors to bid on the prepared construction docu- 
ments, after which the bids are reviewed and negotiated. The intent is to 
bring in the negotiated lowest bid that best represents the true value of the 

Open public bidding is almost always required for government contracts or 
in work that receives government funding. The bidding is advertised, and 
anyone may participate. The bids are opened under supervised circumstances, 
and the lowest bidder is awarded the contract. A museum that receives gov- 
ernment funds should carefully review bidding procedures to ensure that it is 
complying with the regulations. A mandate that dictates accepting the low 
bidder is not usually advantageous for a museum, since the museum building 
type is too specialized, and the low bidder may not be qualified. If a negoti- 
ated low bid is acceptable government practice, then at least the project 
manager has the opportunity to evaluate the bids and eliminate bidders who 
have not responded to the job's requirements. Under the procedures for a 
negotiated bid, the owner reviews in detail, for example, the three lowest bids 
for compliance with the CDs and pursues negotiations with all of them to 
ensure that there are no discrepancies. 

A contractor is usually directly selected only when there is a time crunch, 
such as in a fast-tracked job, and a contractor is needed immediately. How- 
ever, this practice does not provide the opportunity to get the best price. 

Preselected Bidding 

The most secure bidding method is to use a list of preselected contractors who 
have substantial credentials and experience, are known to the GC or the CM, 
and are financially secure. They are sent an invitation to bid, along with a 
copy of the trade-contract construction drawings and specifications, or bid 
package. If a museum has government funding, it is important to make the 
bidders aware that the contract may be preapproved, and it must be under- 
stood that the conditions of the contract are nonnegotiable. 

Buying Out the Job 

Gettmg started is the most difficult part; it seems to take forever to get the 
machine well tuned and humming. The buyout stage does tend to take time. 


which should be anticipated. Whether a CM or a GC is used, a period for 
bidding and buying the job must take place. 

Receiving the bids and negotiating them takes some time. A common 
mistake in scheduling a job is to be overly optimistic about the bidding and 
award period. Many times, incomplete bids are received. A prospective GC or 
trade contractor may not have understood certain aspects of the job. It is 
essential for the CM or GC to hold prebid conferences so that the bidders can 
tour the site and ask questions. 


1. There are many variations and opinions on the CM or GC discussion. The authors 
recommend reviewing C. Edwin Haltenhoff, ed., Construction Mairagement: A State-of- 
the-Art Update (New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1986), chaps, i and 2. 

2. For a more detailed discussion of types of contracts, see Sidney M. Levy, Project 
Managertjent in Construction (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987), pp. 7-16. 




AFTER THE JOB has been bought and the bulldozers are ready to roll, 
the chain of command becomes most critical. Decisions are made 
almost every day and can be changed even by the hour. Time is an 
important cost quotient during the building phase, and decisions must be 
made efficiently and with authority. 


The construction phase requires regular job meetings that usually occur 
weekly, with the museum project director, the owner's representative, and 
the project managers on behalf of the architect and general contractor (GC) or 
construction manager (CM). If the project is an alteration or addition to an 
existing building, the museum's facilities or operations manager should also 
be present. Also attending will be the site superintendent, who reports to the 
CM's or GC's project manager on the daily progress of the job, and the clerk 
of the works, if there is one reporting to the owner's representative. The site 
superintendent is on the site most of the time, whereas the project manager 
usually works in a field office, expediting reams of paperwork and resolving 
issues with the subcontractors or trade contractors. 

The job meeting's purpose is to review the progress of the job and resolve 
day-to-day issues, such as site access, and "house coordination" issues, such 
as utility hookups or shutdowns. For example, if the installation of a new 
transformer in an operating museum requires a twenty-four-hour shutdown 
of the facility, the in-house staff has to schedule and accommodate the shut- 


down. Perhaps a contractor has an unexpected delivery of piping that requires 
2,000 square feet of on-site storage. This may require closing down part of a 
parking lot, installing site protection, and perhaps even upgrading site sur- 
veillance. Essentially, the meeting allows the project director to be fully up to 
date and to track the job's progress. 

In addition to site conditions and requirements, the job meetings deal with 
the many design changes that will take place during the course of the job. The 
contractor may identify a field condition or a necessary change and submit a 
request for information (RFI) to the architect. It is the architect's responsibil- 
ity to document these requests and to provide information quickly in order to 
expedite the change. In response to the RFI, the architect can either supply 
information directly or issue a bulletin to initiate a change to the contract, 
which most likely will result in a change order. The final authorization 
required to proceed with a change must be approved by the architect and the 
owner (see Chapter 12). 

The process is by necessity one of rigorous documentation, and an accurate 
record is essential. However, no job would be built if there were not an 
auxiliary method of informal oral approval that paralleled the written, formal 

In addition to regular job meetings, the project director should hold peri- 
odic owner's meetings that focus on cost. Participants may include the direc- 
tor, the building committee chair, and possibly also key executive staff mem- 
bers (such as deputy or assistant directors or the controller) to deal primarily 
with bottom-line impacts on schedule and cost. The architect's partner or 
principal in charge usually attends, as well as a project executive representing 
the GC's or CM's central office. This executive session allows the director or 
the board representative to be fully apprised of the job's progress. The con- 
troller will be most interested in the payouts and cash-flow issues. This 
approach can vary based on the need for regular updates. The director and 
building committee chair may prefer a written report or just a meeting with 
the project director alone. There is nonetheless some psychological value in 
having the principal design architect and the chief executive representing the 
GC or CM report periodically before an individual or committee representing 
the board. Such accountability on a quarterly or semiannual basis helps to 
ensure that the principal consultants remain attentive to the job. 


One of the first tasks of the contractor is to prepare the site. In populated 
centers, one area of concern is the relocation of utilities, whether they are 
underground or overhead, to ensure that they are not cut off during construc- 
tion. One survey participant reported that in excavating for the foundation of 



Site mobilization is an important component of any project, in terms of time, dollars, 
and requirements for specific expertise. Extensive site preparation was required for the 
new Getty Center in west Los Angeles, California. Since the complex is located on a 
hilltop, roadbeds had to be graded and prepared and utilities brought to the site. The 
first completed structure is a parking facility to accommodate not only future visitors, 
but also construction crews, (a) Model of the Getty Center (the museum is the larger 
building in the upper-left center) (Richard Meier & Partners, 1990). (Copyright The 
J. Paul Getty Trust and Richard Meier & Partners, 1991. Photo: Tom Bonner, 1991) 
(b) The Getty Center site before any site mobilization, 1987. (Copyright The J. Paul 
Getty Trust. Photo: Vladimir Lange) (c) View of site under construction, 1990-1991. 
(Copyright The J. Paul Getty Trust. Photo: Vladimir Lange) 

an addition, all the telephone lines for the existing building were cut. On the 
other hand, in more rural settings, power and even water may need to be 
brought to the site not only for the new building, but also to service the 
contractors while the work commences. Often these services include provid- 
ing sanitary facilities and other basic amenities. Access must be provided for 
contractors. Sometimes roadways have to be created, and the site has to be 
cleared. Demolition of extant buildings or structures may be required; and, in 
undeveloped areas, sites may have to be cleared of brush, trees, and roots. 
For an existing museum faced with an alteration or addition, site prepara- 
tion can be formidable. The area that is to be occupied by a new wing may 
affect adjacent areas during the construction phase. The site must be parti- 





tioned off and protected, which often will encroach on other functioning 
areas. Museum grounds frequently tend to be parkland or are designated for 
recreational public use. The museum must be sensitive to the needs of the 
public, and it is now that the community's earlier cultivation can pay off. The 
site fence should reflect not only the museum's aesthetic sensibility, but also 
its responsiveness to the community. Museums usually take this opportunity 
to display illustrated descriptions of the activity on the other side of the fence 
and how it will improve the facility and in the end enhance the visitor's 
experience. The costs incurred for this type of public-awareness campaign 
should be factored into the general conditions budget. 

A morale campaign for the staff may be needed as well. There will be a lot 
of extra work for everyone, especially if the adjacent operating spaces are 
affected. If an extant building is adding a mezzanine level to a storage area, 
for example, connecting the structural steel may cause considerable vibration 
along beams and columns, which can travel to other sections of the museum. 
Art handlers and technicians may have to provide extra protection and possi- 
bly temporarily remove art from certain areas. A thorough walk-through of 
the site with the curatorial and collections-management staff will be very 
helpful in identifying precautions to be taken. 

An important rule of thumb in preparing for construction is that the 
contractor is responsible for protecting the site, which means constructing 
partitions that will keep out dust and, to some extent, noise. Certain precau- 
tions can be written into the demolition contract — for example, specifying 
places in the museum where certain tools or machines cannot be used. How- 
ever, if the contractor's construction methods are limited, it must be noted 
that such stipulations can be an additional expense. Dismantling costs and the 
value of keeping collections available to the public have to be weighed against 
such delays. It is finally the museum's responsibility to take all necessary 
precautions. For example, if the room above a densely packed art-storage area 
is to receive a new floor and the extant floor must be prepared to receive it, 
the method of preparing the floor should be carefully considered. If the 
contractor is recommending that the floor be acid etched and there is any 
chance of acid seepage to the collection below, the museum must weigh its 
options: moving the collection (considering the cost), asking the contractor to 
change the method of floor preparation (again, considering if this will require 
an extra charge), or taking the risk. 

There will always be noise, vibration, and dust. Some can be tolerated, and 
some cannot. By planning ahead and preparing the staff, the job will be 
smoother. Often complaints heard from museum staff about construction 


Staff moving (a) and protecting (b) collections at the National Museum of American 
History, Washington, D.C. The costs of "mobilization" absorb not only staffing and 
materials, but also emotional resources. (Courtesy the National Museum of American 
History, Smithsonian Institution. Photo Numbers 89-11714, 89-6846) 



projects are no different from those heard in hospitals, universities, and office 
buildings. This is not a pleasant period for any project, and its success de- 
pends on the team effort of administration and staff. 


The construction phase will produce more paper than any museum block- 
buster exhibition ever has. Typically, the museum has entered into a contrac- 
tual obligation that eclipses any expense or project budget encountered under 
normal operating conditions. Careful documentation procedures must be in 
place at the start, for each piece of paper may be called on at any time in case 
of a dispute. 

Addenda (changes initiated during the bidding process) must be attached to 
the specifications. Bulletins (which initiate changes after contract) have to be 


tracked, reported on, and eventually authorized as change orders. Job files 
have to be carefully organized, and drawings have to be maintained. Often 
the clerk of the works performs this task. After a change has been approved 
on a drawing, that drawing must be integrated into the bid set, superseding 
any previous document. All must be under the watchful eye of the project 
director, either directly or delegated, since this is an area where things can 
really go awry. 

Shop drawings are the drawings from which the contractors build. Mainly 
the responsibility of the architect and the CM or GC, but also a difficult task 
for the project director or the owner's representative, is to ensure that there is 
a firm and efficient procedure for the production and review of shop draw- 
ings. Upon receipt of the contract award, specified contractors, manufactur- 
ers, and suppliers must prepare drawings that specify details of how the job 
will be built. For example, the joining of two pieces of structural steel may be 
drawn by the structural engineer to clarify the method of joining, but exactly 
how the work will be done is left to the contractor. The shop drawings must 
be reviewed and accepted by the architect and the engineer before the contrac- 
tor can begin to build. At the end of the job, shop drawings, as well as as-built 
drawings, are turned over to the owner, for the purpose of documenting 
exactly what was built, to assist in managing the new facility. There is a 
tendency for the contractor to proceed without approval, a method that can 
cause problems. Although the contractor accepts the liability for proceeding 
without approval, the changes that may be required can cause delays. The 
owner must be vigilant, since this practice is the source of many construction 

The CM or GC will want to begin working with certain trades immediately. 
The mechanical and electrical trades are usually the first, and, if the museum 
is dealing with an extant building, the contractor may need information from 
staff electricians and other maintenance staff. There will be extra demands on 
the staff, and they must be prepared to cooperate, for delays in getting 
necessary information can hold up the job. The contractor will also want to 
get onto the site to begin field measurements for such items as structural 





There are special circumstances where custom equipment and materials may 
have to be ordered and manufactured in advance. Elevators, generators, 
transformers, and boilers are long-lead items. In museum construction, long- 
lead items may include such furnishings as specially designed sun-controlled 
louvers to regulate natural light in skylit galleries. Lab equipment and custom 
furnishings require a long lead, and specialized filters for the heating, ventila- 
tion, and air conditioning system that are not standard manufacture may also 
take time. These items usually require advance payment and should be high- 
lighted when the contractor or CM is preparing cash-flow projections for the 





HANGES HAVE BEEN MENTIONED repeatedly. They result from any 
amendment to the contract documents, and they are endemic to the 
construction process. 


Changes usually create additional expense, but can also occasionally yield 
savings; each must be carefully reviewed and negotiated. Other than the 
contract documents, the change order is one of the most significant pieces of 
paper in the project file.i Changes are reviewed by the architect, the owner's 
representative, the construction manager (CM), and the project director to 
ensure that they are necessary and that they are costed properly, which will 
depend on how carefully and well they are negotiated. Since the trade con- 
tractor or subcontractor who is to execute a change is no longer in competi- 
tion with other bidders, the competitive advantage has been eliminated. 
However, a cost proposal for a change can almost always be negotiated to a 
lower price. 

In addition to the management team's review, if staff members participated 
in the design review, they may need to verify a change. Whenever possible, 
staff should review technical changes to ensure their correctness. Changes can 
add to the scope of a job or reduce it, and they can delay or speed the job's 

Museum administrators must be prepared for the complaints from the staff 
that usually accompany scope reductions. During design, the approved bud- 


get and estimate may have been adequate, but during construction, site 
conditions, estimating errors, material costs, and the Uke may change the 
economic picture. A job budgeted for $10 miUion may have become $12 
milhon. The board may have to ask for a reduction of scope to balance the 
bottom line. Such situations are disappointing, but often are also inescapable. 
When starting out, the staff has an expectation of new and better facilities. If 
the budget must be reduced, new may become only somewhat better, and not 
all will be satisfied if they begin to see their area or department getting less 
than anticipated. 

Field Changes 

A field change is one that has to be made because of an unexpected condition 
in the field: an abandoned duct running across an area identified for new 
structural steel, for example, or asbestos discovered in an area that was 
supposed to have been asbestos-free. No architect or contractor can predict 
what is behind a wall in an extant building, especially if the building is 
relatively old and there is little available documentation. 

Field changes are usually charged against contingency; they must be ex- 
pected, and usually there is little choice but to authorize the work. Often 
there can be associated costs of overtime and added labor. Field conditions 
would also cover problems such as flooding caused by inadvertently drilling 
into existing water lines where none should have been. Such occurrences 
have to be left to the site superintendent and project manager to repair 
immediately, without further negotiation, in order to minimize damage and 
any schedule impact. 

Some field conditions, especially those that would be expensive to change, 
may require redesign. If existing structure exposed in demolition encroaches 
on design space — for example, if an unexpected column appears in the middle 
of what is to be programmed gallery space — redesigning might be a more 
efficient solution than relocating at considerable expense. 

Changes in Scope 

A change in scope is an owner-generated design change that is desired or 
required but is not within the original scope of the job. It can be generated by 
a newly found field condition, but it is more often an optimal rather than an 
essential change. Perhaps the mechanical room above a newly created art 
storeroom was supposed to have been waterproofed to prevent seepage to the 
floor below in case of leaks. When it is discovered that this work was never 
done, the mechanical engineer may recommend that, in addition to the wa- 
terproofing, water alarms be installed as an extra precaution. On the same 


job, the refurbishing of old restrooms immediately adjacent to a new gallery 
may not be covered in the original scope. A desire to upgrade these adjacent 
spaces may surface. Both are scope changes, and each would clearly result in 
added project cost. Faced with a budget decision, the waterproofing and water 
alarms to protect the collection may have to take precedence over the cosmetic 
refurbishing of the restrooms if funds are limited. These decisions are the 
responsibility of the project team's principals — to be made by the project 
director with guidance from the director and board leadership. 

Not all scope changes are volitional changes, and many are unexpected. 
Opening up a wall as part of a renovation in an old landmarked building, one 
survey participant found that all existing roof leaders had deteriorated and 
needed complete replacement, even though the original scope of work in- 
volved only one floor of a multistory building. It was clearly essential that 
the work proceed, since some areas of the renovation would have been vul- 
nerable to damage as this condition worsened over time. 

Another form of scope change, and perhaps the most difficult to address, is 
a reduction of scope. These changes are normally implemented to yield bud- 
get savings. If an existing four-story wing is to be renovated and only three 
of the four floors are completed due to budget concerns, this is a reduction of 
scope. If a proposed skylight treatment is modified to a closed roof and ceiling 
to effect a cost saving, this is also a reduction in scope. Scope reductions can 
occur in the furnishing or installation work at the end of a job, generally for 
two reasons: first, by the time a project is deemed to be over budget, it is 
often too late to make other changes in scope; second, furnishings such as 
office furniture, storage cabinets, and audiovisual equipment can always be 
purchased at a later time, when the museum may be better prepared to supply 
the funds. 

Decisiojis Regarding Changes 

Choices about changes in scope are the kinds of decisions that the staff does 
not usually share in and often does not understand. The director and the 
board, however, who are charged with managing available financial resources, 
must execute decisions that are best for their museum. The architect will 
want the restrooms to look as good as the newly designed galleries. The 
contractor will want the extra money. The owner has to pay the bill. The 
project director and director must balance these forces and act responsibly, 
making recommendations that keep the project within financial limits. 

The director and project director must also not forget, under the pressure of 
time, that certain key staff members should always evaluate changes with 
operational implications. Any technical changes in the mechanical systems, 
the lighting, the size of doorways and passageways, the size of classrooms, 



the audiovisual equipment, and so on should be reviewed with those who 
need to operate these systems or work in these spaces. Often the leaders of 
the team feel encumbered by the burden of additional staff reviews, since 
decisions about changes must be made quickly. Yet those responsible for such 
decisions should have the users' needs in mind when authorizing a change. 
Everyone must also keep in mind that often staff is the source of requested 
changes, and even though these may seem highly desirable to a department 
head, the director has to respond to larger project, budgetary, and institu- 
tional issues. Morale, therefore, remains a constant issue. Formal construc- 
tion updates can be made regularly by the project director at staff meetings to 
keep the staff "informed." During the course of the work, when safety 
permits, the project director or director might also lead staff tours through the 
site (see Chapter 14). This boosts morale and gives the staff an appreciation of 
exactly what is going on in the field. 

Cost Management and Progress Reporting 

The project principals will be meeting regularly to review the job's cost and 
schedule and its overall performance. Cost-reporting and cost-control meth- 
ods should be worked out before the job starts. Each month, the CM or GC 
should provide a progress report, with a detailed cost breakdown per trade. 
This report will compare the budget with actual costs by reflecting the origi- 
nal budget, with any adjustments, changes made prior to contract, the value 
of the award of the contract, any changes in scope, any contracts that are yet 
uncommitted, and approved and pending changes. It should also show a 
projected final cost. 

If this bottom line in the cost report indicates that the project is on target 
with the current approved budget, everyone will be happy. This should be, 
but often is not, the case. During the course of the job, there may be problems 
with buying out the job — for example, if a particular type of stone has been 
specified that is not readily available, resulting in either a costly delay or the 
expense of having to pay a premium for delivery. The estimate on a particular 
piece of equipment may have been too low. The finish on laboratory paint 
may have become subject to environmental restrictions since the time of the 
estimate, and a more costly method of applying the paint may have to be 
used. These situations will happen, and a reporting system that highlights 
variances early on should be used as a tool to regulate budget. Increased 
expenses on one aspect of the project may have to result in reductions in scope 
for others. In the end, if required, the contingency is used. These funds must 
be allocated and spent carefully and deliberately. 


If too many problems occur or contingencies are inadequate, the project 
will go over budget. If it becomes apparent that the budget will be overspent, 
all of those in the decision-making process will have to consider available 
options. Authorizing additional expenditure, assuming funding or financing 
is available, usually means that the board will have to step up fund-raising 
efforts, take money out of capital reserves, or trigger other available sources 
of financing. A more common alternative is to try to reduce scope through 
cuts or to attempt to value engineer via alternative specifications or building 
methods to achieve the same results. 

The purchase of many items, as mentioned earlier, can be deferred. Fur- 
nishings and audiovisual equipment are most easily cut out because they can 
be purchased at the end of the job or later. However, one critical item that is 
often vulnerable under these circumstances but should not be cut is the 
graphic-design package for architectural signage. During planning and design 
of a new facility, all are concerned about the public's need for signs and 
information. Much preparation will go into creating a graphics plan, but since 
it is usually one of the last items bid and bought out, it can easily be deemed 
something to address later. Yet its proper execution is critical to the success of 
the public's experience with new space. 

Tough decisions have to be made, and no one is ever happy about them. The 
board must focus on what will be achieved, rather than on what will not; staff 
may do the opposite. The director needs the support of both the board and the 
staff. Morale will be greatly boosted if the museum administration can get all 
to focus on the benefits of what will be realized on completion. 

Visits to the Site 

During construction, the board will most likely be pursuing vigorously its 
fund-raising efforts, since many projects begin without all funds having been 
raised. Board members' involvement is critical to the success of the job, and 
they should periodically be invited to visit the site. Everyone loves a hard-hat 
tour. Job progress is invigorating, and no evidence is more concrete than 
actually following the building's structural development through completion. 
Museums are special buildings; if there is something of particular interest, 
the board should be invited to see it. Such visits can also be disorienting, and 
Chapter 14 will address in more detail how and why this experience can be 
made a positive and special one. 


Most institutions with strong government and community participation have 
public representatives on their boards. During the excitement of construction. 



the museum may want to include other government and community figures 
on site visits and to publicize progress updates more widely. Government and 
community support often has been enlisted to raise funds for a project, and 
there should be a gesture to acknowledge that participation. 

During the course of construction, everyone is so busy building that it is hard 
to think about public information and promotional needs. The GC or CM is 
usually responsible for taking regular progress photos of the site. Museums 
need extra documentation. A professional architectural photographer may be 
called on periodically to take more artful photographs for publicity purposes. 
Video documentation is also becoming much more common. Museums must 
keep in mind that capital expansion leads to increased public attention. An 
expanded facility must maintain this momentum and interest, and appropri- 
ate documentation is very helpful in these efforts, affording donors and the 
public alike the opportunity to see work in progress. 


1. For sample change orders and a thorough review of how to approach a change, see 
Sidney M. Levy, Project Management in Construction (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987), 
pp. 144-62. 



CLOSING OUT the job is a critical part of the construction phase. Its 
administration should be considered at the start of construction and 
adequately planned for in the schedule. It takes time, personnel, and 
a great deal of patience. This stage can be an aggravating time, filled with 
psychological pressures as well as pressing move-in deadlines. Everyone ex- 
pects to be finished, but completion continues to seem "so near yet so far." 
There is a point at the end of each job when "substantial completion" is 
achieved — when the owner, the architect, and the contractor agree that the 
job, with the exception of work that is on what is called the punch list, is 
mostly complete, and final payments, with the exception of a percentage held 
in reserve for completion, are made. Upon final completion, all warranties 
and guarantees take effect. In order to grant substantial completion, the 
architect must first complete a punch list of incomplete and incorrect work 
and submit it to the owner for approval. The contents of the punch list must 
be determined at this time, and often there is disagreement about what it 
should contain. These topics are summarized in the following passages but are 
elaborated in the succeeding chapters of the book, which fully discuss comple- 
tion and initial occupancy — stages intricately connected with the last stages 
of construction. 

Often at this point in the job, and in order to save on general-conditions 
costs, the CM or GC may replace the regular project manager with a subordi- 
nate who will follow up on details. This arrangement may work, but it should 
not be used at the expense of continuity. Museums have exceptionally high 
standards for quality of finishes, and the project manager who has been on 
the job from the start may need to stay on to ensure that quality is delivered. 



As the project nears completion, the architect begins to develop the punch 
list. This is a long and detailed index of items that must be completed before 
the contractor receives final payment, encompassing details as minor as the 
relocation, adjustment, and completion of small items (such as missing elec- 
trical outlet covers), the replacement of broken emergency exit signs, the 
realignment of handrail brackets, or the relocation of light switches. Perhaps 
a stone stair tread was cracked during installation and needs to be replaced, or 
a door threshold has to be raised or lowered. Many items relate to satisfying 
certain finish requirements, such as painted surfaces and wood finishes (for a 
sample punch-list page, see Fig. 4). 

The development and completion of this list can be a process of consider- 
able duration, and the subject of much debate and negotiation. Primarily, it 
should be thought of as a checks-and-balances system to ensure that the 
owner has received all work as stipulated in the contract documents and at the 
level of quality specified. Because this is the point of final payment, contrac- 
tors may urge that certain items of incomplete base contract work be consid- 
ered punch-list items, so that they can be paid before the work is completed. 
To guard against such tactics, the architect must review assiduously which 
items are appropriate for inclusion on the punch list and determine with the 
owner the payment amounts to be withheld as leverage, pending completion 
of all punch-list work. 


Contract documents will have specified that the owner receive, upon comple- 
tion, certain operating manuals that are essential to understanding the opera- 
tion of machinery and equipment. These manuals are highly technical and 
often come in multiple volumes, a master copy of which should be kept under 
lock and key. After receipt of manuals, training sessions, again as specified in 
the contract, are given to in-house operating personnel. Videotaping these 
sessions can be invaluable for future reference. 

Attic stock and spare parts are also quantified in the contract. They may 
include light bulbs or extra carpeting, paint, or ceramic tile. Often these are 
custom items to match colors or finishes that are difficult to reproduce. The 
owner must keep close tabs on such end-of-the-job items and make sure that 
everything that is bought in the contract is received. 


As mentioned earlier, there are also issues at this stage of special interior 
design. In museums, these relate primarily to gallery and storage installa- 


The Brooklyn 


Lecture Hall ■ 

Architectural Punch List 

May 8, 1991 




Architectural work appears complete 




patch base 


patch hole over door 

paint walls 


no comment 


provide wall mounted railings for new steps 



carpet not trimmed correctly at railing posts 

vinyl base at door to be re-affixed 

provide vinyl base under curved railing 


patch crack at louver and repaint 


no comment 


gap between walls and curved railing exceeds specified 5" (code violation) 

signage at exit door not fabricated or installed per specification 

provide lamps in all light fixtures 

heat detector escutcheons to be provided 




no comment 


no comment 


provide heat detector escutcheons 


provide signage at FHC 

paint FHC 




provide vinyl base 




no comment 


provide light fixture for further observation 




no comment 


no comment 


no comment 


FEC not as specified 

FEC to be painted - apply specified signage 

Figure 4. Sample punch-list page. 

tions of collections. However, they can also include restaurant services, retail 
shops, other specialized storage areas, conservation laboratories, and other 
technical spaces. All design consultants for such spaces must work in concert, 
and continuity is important. The architect and contractor may be finished 
with the base building at this point, but the project director might just be 
starting afresh with new crews for interior work, and coordination with 
remaining base-building work therefore remains critical. 




In a process that is riddled throughout with psychological tension and with 
the alternating emotions of exhilaration and apprehension, one of the most 
traumatic times is the moment of completion and start of occupancy, when 
the museum as client becomes the museum as owner and occupant of its 
realized premises. This is a daunting moment, since it brings home a point 
that no amount of preparation can make with comparable force: on comple- 
tion, the museum is left holding the bag. Completion and occupancy are the 
culmination of the planning, design, and construction process. All the mech- 
anisms and procedures engaged to support, supervise, and control a project 
bear fruit at this moment, and the success or failure of those efforts is made 

In coping with this phase it is helpful to keep in mind two important 

1. The dust, both figuratively and literally, may never settle, and cer- 
tainly it does not settle at the moment of a project's completion. The 
end of construction simply signals the beginning of operation in a 
new facility, and it is only over a long period of time that the dust of 
transition dissipates. 

2. It is not reahstic to expect to have complete control over all the 
variables that affect transition. 

These chapters shed some light on the realities of this concluding phase of 
a project, outlining the major variables that influence the progress of a 
project as occupancy approaches, as well as the psychological and emotional 
sensitivities that come into play at this stage. They will try to distill some 
practical advice for moving in successfully and with minimal trauma and 
then highlight the issues, both technical and emotional, that arise in the 
aftermath, as a museum adapts to its new facilities. 





HERE ARE THREE iTiajor factors that govern a project as the time for 
occupancy draws near — schedule, standards for quahty, and cost con- 


The Schedule 

A consideration of schedule immediately raises the question of how much 
control a museum can hope to have over the process of completion and 
occupancy. Ultimately, the schedule for completion is set by working back- 
ward from an official opening date, and fixing that date becomes increasingly 
important as construction advances. For a museum's own purposes internally, 
the move-in period — the period between initial occupancy and the official 
opening — should be as long as possible. Although the building contractor 
may argue for the maximum extension of construction time, in fact fixing the 
dates for completion and opening can be an effective way to galvanize the 
construction team to finish its work. 

Many within the museum will logically press for early completion to 
maximize move-in time. A completed building needs time to season itself. 
Real dust must settle; gases must dissipate. Curatorial and conservation staff 
will argue that a building's environment needs time to achieve equilibrium 
and to neutralize itself before the art first enters its spaces. Building manage- 
ment staff will lobby for a significant block of time to test, operate, and shake 
down systems before occupancy. Installation staff will argue for the max- 


imum time to achieve perfection and to consider, and reconsider, installation 
options. These kinds of concerns all warrant genuine and sympathetic atten- 

Conversely, a significant ceremonial opening date, perhaps coinciding with 
a major institutional anniversary or civic event, can generate enormous inter- 
nal pressures to minimize shake-down and to accelerate the final steps before 
move-in. The museum director, with the full backing of his or her public- 
relations staff, may feel that a symbolic date has overriding importance be- 
cause of the critical and public attention that an opening can generate. Board 
members and volunteer committee members can similarly be persuaded that 
a significant opening date will enhance visibility. 

Beyond a museum's internal considerations, external pressures must also 
be taken into account. If a project has been built with substantial public 
support and endorsement — if the land or facilities are publicly owned or if 
publicly voted financing has been provided — local officials may have strong 
feelings about the timing of completion. Perhaps a project has been supported 
as part of a significant municipal anniversary or in conjunction with some 
other public celebration or major municipal promotion. These kinds of in- 
terests can bring substantial pressure to bear on timing decisions that can 
affect fundamental issues of professional museum practice. What is clear is 
that maximizing the move-in period is the most desirable objective, and the 
challenge then becomes one of balancing pressures, both internal and exter- 
nal, to achieve this end. 

Deadlines are not to be avoided, but should be emphasized as a method of 
asserting control to the extent that this is possible. The prospect of a cere- 
monial opening can take on great importance. It can be made absolute and 
sacrosanct, motivating the staff, board leaders, contractors, and construction 
crews to make targeted deadlines for completion and occupancy. 

Last, it is important to keep in mind that there are also technical hurdles to 
overcome in determining a schedule for completion and occupancy. Volu- 
minous code-related filings and inspections must be accomplished, involving 
the coordinated efforts of architects, general contractors, expediters, and local 
government inspectors before a certificate of occupancy is issued. And while 
responsibility may rest with these various parties, without the museum's 
vested interest in achieving occupancy, the coordinated effort required to 
accomplish it will not materialize. 

Quality Standard 

An issue that is equally as critical as schedule is quality. Quality of finish is a 
paramount concern in the execution of a museum job. Museums stand for 
quality and therefore must aspire to the best possible execution of even the 
most minute details in their facilities. Quality of finish can be judged only as 


a project approaches completion. Unfortunately, that moment in a project's 
schedule is precisely when the whole range of pressures outlined earlier 
converges to fix absolute deadlines for completion. Accelerating these pres- 
sures can undermine the care that must be taken at precisely that same time 
to achieve quality: haste yields poor quality and provides a ready excuse for 
diminished standards and performance. It is of the utmost importance at this 
stage to reaffirm standards for quality and then to ensure that they are 
recognized and endorsed by those who are otherwise influencing schedule 

Cost Constraints 

Cost constraints also affect the progress toward completion. This moment, as 
the project nears completion, is one of the last remaining occasions for signif- 
icant and unforeseen pressures on the project budget to arise. As completion 
nears and related pressures mount, the demand that the work accelerate can 
be costly and can have serious and negative consequences for the quality of 
the job. A quickened pace can easily add expense and trigger precisely the 
wrong reaction on the part of contractors and construction crews: just as a 
project approaches its close and work should be winding down, the flow of 
funds to quicken the pace of work can signify a lack of restraint and a heating 
up, rather than a cooling off. 

Control of schedule, quality of result, and containment of cost: with con- 
tinuing attention to these variables as a project approaches completion, a 
museum can hope to assert some control at the moment when a project 
reaches what may be its most sensitive stage, when it begins to see the 
concrete results of its extended labors. This is also a moment of heightened 
emotional and psychological sensitivity, and it is therefore useful to outline 
some of the especially key sensitivities. 


The importance of a museum's developing a sense of ownership of its build- 
ing program has been stressed throughout this book. During the building 
process, the museum as client must be forceful and assertive to ensure that its 
interests and objectives are being served first and foremost. To the extent that 
this sense of ownership is strengthened during the construction process, the 
physical reaUty of a completed building can be daunting, even for those who 
have been intensively involved throughout. It is therefore essential that 
everyone have the chance to become familiar with the building as it evolves 
and particularly as it reaches completion. Otherwise, experiencing the com- 
pleted building only in its final and literally concrete form can be a shock. 


Site visits at various stages of a project's development can be immeasurably 
helpful, especially as a project draws to a close. For the professional staff, 
seeing the spaces whose dimensions and criteria they have helped to specify, 
either directly or indirectly, as they take final form can affirm for them the 
value of their participation, at whatever level it has occurred. Since most staff 
members are not schooled in translating two-dimensional plans into three- 
dimensional space, site visits can also be a way to verify the correctness of 
spaces that cannot be visualized readily. Professional staff who are weary 
of the rigors of life during construction also need a reminder by this time of 
what lies ahead. A visit to the site nearing completion can provide that boost 
and strengthen everyone's resolve to press on to a project's conclusion. 

Since a site even on the verge of completion at times still only vaguely 
resembles the finished result, even the most informal site visit therefore 
requires some orientation and explanation. Endorsement and uplifted morale 
are desirable objectives in giving the professional staff access at this moment, 
and proper orientation only enhances such goals. 

Of course, this exposure has objective as well as psychological benefits: 
professional staff members bring a fresh eye to the site and can spot problems 
or errors in places where their special interests may focus their attention. 
Where field conditions may have resulted in what can seem to be minor 
adjustments to critical height clearances, the placement of electrical outlets, 
and the like, the professional eye, particularly with a vested interest, can spot 
any resulting problems and, where possible, press for their correction. 

At the time of occupancy, a museum's building management staff accepts 
responsibility for the operation of its physical plant. In a well-integrated 
planning, design, and construction process, operating staff will have been 
involved at every stage, either by participating in making the critical decisions 
during each phase or by being kept abreast at all times of the operating 
implications of the facilities' design and construction. Hand in hand with this 
involvement should go the opportunity, from the beginning of the construc- 
tion phase, to become familiar with the new physical plant and systems. In 
the case of operating staff, this kind of familiarity reinforces both a sense of 
participation in the building process and a sense of ownership of the new 

As much as its staff, a museum's board and volunteer leadership need to be 
familiar with a project as it becomes a physical reality, and for the same 
psychological reasons. This constituency's understanding clearly need not be 
so technical, but its endorsement can be very beneficial. This group can work 
effectively with local government and community to secure as well their 
endorsement of a completed project, to enhance a project's public relations, 
and to stimulate broad public interest and enthusiasm. Last, if there are major 
individual donors to a museum's project, it is important to remember their 
vested interest in the final physical result and to offer them the opportunity 
to visit the newly completed site. 


A concerted effort to introduce the completed project to each of the partici- 
pants described here can only benefit the success of its reception — internally 
and externally, professionally and publicly. 

Why do subjective psychological and emotional factors play so significant a 
role in setting the stage for what would seem to be so objective an exercise as 
occupying new space? Whether or not one chooses to pursue a conclusive 
answer, what matters is the recognition that the question is important and 
that it focuses on a moment of utmost sensitivity. The change in physical 
environment, the transition from old to new space, and the experience of new 
space all have an impact that cannot be overlooked. 

For an existing museum that is moving to a new or a newly expanded or 
renovated facility, there is the memory of what existed previously. This point 
was emphasized in earlier discussions of the planning stage, and it is similarly 
important here. The memory of what was can be colored by nostalgia, and it 
can be made appealing by virtue of its familiarity, particularly in the face of 
the new and unknown. In the planning phase, the danger of clinging to the 
familiar is that it can hamper one's abihty to realize the benefits of what is 
new and innovative. Staff members long accustomed to certain facilities, 
cramped or deficient as they may have been, may not easily accept a changed 
environment, even if it is successfully designed and executed to yield im- 
provement. Trustees and longtime supporters may have difficulty accepting 
the look of new facilities, regardless of their success, based on a fond memory 
of the old. Visitors may be the most unyielding in this regard. They do not 
easily change their perceptions of how a given institution's collections and 
exhibitions are best housed, often preferring simply the familiar. And there is 
also a period of adjustment to how collections look as they are installed in 
new surroundings. 

In the case of new institutions, the basis for comparison is perhaps even 
more skewed. Instead of a preexisting building, a wholly new museum must 
live up to expectations of the "reality" of a long-imagined idea, and one that 
may have taken many different forms in the minds of founding professionals, 
board leaders, supporters, donors, and community constituencies. Notions of 
space become deeply internalized over the course of conceiving, planning, and 
building a project. Completion therefore requires reconciling these inter- 
nalized notions with the reality that has been achieved, and this reconciliation 
can be arduous. While there are no easy answers, the simple recognition of 
the interplay — and potential discrepancies — between real and imagined space 
can be most helpful. 

In large part, the burden of this moment is a product of the success of the 
process that brings a museum project to completion. This book has focused in 
each phase on an organic and reverberant process, one that begins with 
planning for a specific project's development in the context of the kind of 
long-range thinking that sees a project in relation to the programmatic, 
financial, and operating implications for its future. Each stage of the process 


unfolds to become the next, and, at each stage, there is the opportunity for 
assessment — to consider whether a project continues to address the goals and 
objectives for which it was initiated. In this way, needs assessment yields to 
planning, which generates design, which requires construction, which re- 
solves finally in completion. From the moment that a museum moves to 
occupy its facilities, it begins to test whether or not it has successfully ful- 
filled the needs set out at the start of its planning process. It also begins to test 
whether or not the periodic process of review has refined accurately its 
assumptions regarding the implications of new facilities for programs, fi- 
nances, and operations. It is useful to accept outright the likelihood that the 
physical and operational realities of a newly completed museum will not be 
entirely consonant with what was envisioned at the outset of the project. 
Rather, the final reality will be the result of much thoughtful consideration 
and reconsideration. And original assumptions, through related and ongoing 
refinement, may properly be the basis for new assumptions about current and 
future operations. 

What matters most is to recognize that the completion of a given project 
represents change. For an existing museum, completion can also result in a 
significant change of scale. For a new museum, change is the transformation 
of an idea to an operating entity. In both instances, planning assumptions 
become operating assumptions, which themselves become the basis for fur- 
ther planning. The burden that this realization brings to bear on the process 
of completing and occupying a new facility is great. 


Turning from the psychological to the physical, it is important in preparing to 
occupy new space to acknowledge that museums are literally among the most 
sensitive kinds of facilities, so that mobilizing to occupy new facilities must be 
orchestrated with great sensitivity. 

Chapters 6 to 13 have emphasized how complex and specialized museums 
are as building types. Museums consist of many varied and specialized com- 
ponents, each of which has its own spatial and environmental criteria. Muse- 
ums are public facilities, but with areas of restricted or prohibited public 
access. Museums accommodate potentially large numbers of visitors in vast 
public spaces, galleries, and auditoriums, and yet they also hold collections in 
precisely designed and environmentally controlled locations. They may serve 
food and sell books and other merchandise. They also provide scientifically 
and technologically advanced facilities for conserving and storing works of 

Museums are similar to hospitals in their broadly varied and precisely 
specialized planning requirements, and, to extend the analogy, their collec- 


tions take on the singular status of a hospital's patients at the point at which 
new facilities are ready to be occupied. Concrete and objective criteria must be 
established to determine whether or not a new museum facility is ready to 
receive its works of art. Indeed, a further reason to familiarize professional 
staff with new facilities at the earliest possible moment is to encourage cura- 
tors, conservators, and registrars to begin to evaluate the extent to which 
conditions in new facilities are appropriate for receiving art. While concur- 
rently adjusting psychologically to new space, these staff members, along 
with operations, security, and administrative staff, need to be engaged in an 
objective analysis of whether or not mechanical systems are balanced enough 
to provide stable environmental conditions, based on predetermined criteria, 
and whether or not security and life-safety systems are sufficiently debugged 
to provide adequate protection. 

Wrestling with these criteria, a museum must finally step forward to 
occupy new facilities, thereby concluding the last phase of its building cycle 
and initiating the first phase of its future operation. 



OCCUPANCY BEGINS the moment a new facility ceases to be the 
province of construction crews and is instead occupied by the staff, 
furnishings, equipment, and collections of the museum. It is the 
point at which the museum as owner becomes responsible for the facility and 
for its operations. 

Of course, as with every other step in this process, many variables influ- 
ence precisely how the occupancy stage is achieved for any given project. 
Among them is the project's construction phasing: whether it is wholly new 
construction, accomplished at one time on a single stand-alone site, or 
phased, so that discrete portions are complete at different times; or whether it 
is the expansion or renovation of an existing facility, either accomplished all 
at once or phased to permit temporary relocations of staff and operations 
while work progresses. 

In an ideal situation, a new stand-alone facility is completed all at once, and 
the museum is able to occupy a fully finished site. However, it is more likely 
that different parts of a project will be completed on a staggered schedule, 
requiring a museum to plan its move in phases as well. This may seem a more 
complex approach to occupancy, and it is. Yet if managed properly, it enables 
a museum to ease into its new facilities and to determine a sequence for 
moving that can accommodate the kinds of psychological and physical sen- 
sitivities that have been discussed. It is also, in many instances, unavoidable. 

Phased occupancy can be logistically complex. It entails sealing off certain 
spaces, wings, or portions of a building from others. It requires banishing 
contractors and construction crews from those spaces, except when prear- 
ranged. It can exacerbate the difficulty of achieving final completion through- 


out the remainder of a facility, simply by increasing the operational complex- 
ity of the site. However, it can also be an enormous help to the museum as it 
prepares to move in, since it provides for a testing of the waters before 
plunging in, and it can make the otherwise monumental effort of moving in 
seem rather less forbidding, by reducing it to what may seem to be more 
manageable challenges, met on an incremental basis. 


Moving in is itself contractually significant, with technical and legal implica- 
tions that need to be understood in advance. A museum moves into new space 
only after taking possession of it from the contractor or construction manag- 
er, who has been responsible for it as a construction site. In taking possession, 
the museum thereafter accepts responsibility for the condition, operation, 
and occupancy of that space in whatever condition it has been received. 

To do so, the museum must be able to rely on the representations of its 
contractor or construction manager that the space is complete and ready for 
occupancy. The only exceptions will be incomplete items of work listed by the 
architect in the formal punch list following his or her scrutiny of the com- 
pleted space. The architect and contractor must agree on the extent of this list 
before the owner accepts the space. 

As in so many other instances, the museum must take care to protect its 
own interests at this point. To ensure the full and final completion of its 
space, the museum must be able to ascertain the completeness of the punch 
list. To do so requires rigorous participation in the process of creating the 
punch list during the construction phase (see Chapter 13) and careful review 
of the architect's summation of the work that remains. As the formal record 
of a contractor's legal obligation and responsibility for work to be concluded 
after a museum accepts its space, the list must be exhaustive. 

Ideally, time would not be an issue, and a museum would not accept its new 
facilities until all the work was completed, obviating the need for a punch list. 
However, the many pressures described earlier in this chapter affect a muse- 
um's decisions regarding when and how completion and occupancy are 
achieved, so it is far more commonly the case that a museum takes possession 
and begins occupancy with an agreed-on punch list. The verification of the 
punch list therefore becomes a consuming assignment, engaging all the mem- 
bers of a museum's project team, those who have overseen work in the field 
together with staff who, by this stage, should be well attuned to the operation 
and condition of the spaces into which they are moving. 

Before the museum takes possession of and moves into its new building, 
evidence of the legal right to occupy space in a newly completed facility is also 
required. Again, this responsibility rests jointly with the general contractor 


or construction manager and the project architect. The museum is Ukely also 
to have engaged an expediter, independent of both contractor and architect 
and with speciaUzed knowledge of the intricacies of local approval processes, 
to assist with this effort. Their task together is to ensure that all the inspec- 
tions required by local authorities are scheduled and completed, that all the 
necessary documentation is properly recorded and filed, and that the appro- 
priate local governing authority has issued the required certification for occu- 
pancy. Procedures and requirements vary from city to city. However, they 
are always the responsibility of the contractor and the architect, generally 
coordinated by an expediter, and they must result finally in the issuance of 
public-assembly permits and of a certificate of occupancy enabling legal occu- 

Again, the museum owner is not free of responsibility for making sure that 
all the necessary steps are taken, and it is probably fair to say that the 
inspection and certification process is never completed smoothly. There is 
always some confusion among the parties, and there are always some dropped 
balls that must be retrieved before the game is over. 

In preparing for occupancy, it is helpful at each step to think in terms of the 
following questions: 

1. Is the space ready for professional staff to use it and to work in it? 

2. Is the space ready for works of art to be handled, stored, and installed 
in it? 

3. Is the space ready for use by the general public? 

Staff, art, and public: the considerations and timing of occupancy differ for 
each, and the sequence in which the steps take place is therefore important. 


Curing the New Facilities 

Once new space has been turned over, even in the most complete possible 
condition, it must be allowed to run on a continuous and typical operating 
basis for some period of time simply to achieve physical equilibrium. 

Mechanical systems must be operated both to test their performance and to 
demonstrate that they can achieve and then maintain required environmental 
criteria. In dry climates, humidity must be introduced, and finished facilities 
will require time to absorb it before equilibrium is achieved and stable condi- 
tions are guaranteed. Similarly, in damp climates, spaces will need to be 
dehumidified before a system can demonstrate that it is able to produce and 
maintain required conditions. Ideally, this process would allow for as much as 
a year's chmatizing. More realistically, a museum should simply attempt to 


preserve as much time as it can for this purpose, with three months as a 

This step can also be anticipated somewhat through an advance period of 
beneficial occupancy during which operating staff works on the site, together 
with contractors and trade contractors' representatives, in training and orien- 
tation sessions specifically devoted to understanding the operation of new 
systems and reviewing operating manuals and warranties. 

Fire-protection and security systems, and the central monitoring for all 
such systems, also require debugging, and their operating capability must be 

The accumulated dust of the construction process needs time to work its 
way through all the operating systems. While efforts can be made to filter 
this residue, it is most effectively eliminated simply by sustaining continuous 
operating time during a facihty's shake-down period. Further, many new 
surfaces and finishes expel gases that need time to dissipate. Paint finishes, 
plywood, and carpeting are only a few of the many common building mate- 
rials that emit chemical vapors that should be released before a museum's 
spaces receive works of art and, in some instances, people. The use of non- 
noxious materials and finishes, particularly for art-storage areas, can mini- 
mize this time period. However, this problem cannot be escaped altogether, 
so the best method for addressing it is to become knowledgeable: indeed, as a 
result of increasing government and professional enlightenment about mate- 
rials in the workplace, it is likely that a museum's own conservation and 
operations staff will be well versed in this area. 

Last, new facilities must be cleaned to eradicate the grime of the construc- 
tion workplace. It is likely that new techniques will need to be introduced to 
clean and maintain unfamiliar materials and finishes. And, as construction 
dust makes its way through a building's mechanical systems, cleaning must 
be done not once, but repeatedly. In ideal circumstances, all such cleaning and 
preparation activities would precede any occupancy by staff, since, with the 
added encumbrance of furnishings and equipment, they can only impede the 
staff's efficiency. It is essential, in any case, that cleaning be completed as 
the first step in occupancy. 

Preparing the Galleries 

As discussed in Chapter 7, it is not uncommon for museums to assign respon- 
sibility for the design, detailing, and execution of collection, installation, and 
exhibition spaces to in-house staff — curators or installation designers — or to 
consultants who specialize in exhibition and gallery design. Under such ar- 
rangements, it is also not uncommon for the related construction and in- 
stallation of these spaces to be executed not by a general contractor (or by 
trade contractors engaged by a construction manager) but by in-house pro- 


Renovation of the Marquand-Mather Court, The Art Museum, Princeton University, 
(a) Before renovation; (b) during renovation in 1989; (c) following completion of the 
new space. (Photos; [a and b] Clem Fiori; [c] William N. Taylor) 



duction crews or by specialized installation contractors engaged by the muse- 
um either directly or through a consulting designer. This design and produc- 
tion schedule is then hkely to be entirely separate from the base-building 
project's schedule. 

Questions of trade-union jurisdiction on a work site or of the underlying 
incompatibility of types of work generally also dictate that this work be done 
after a museum has taken possession of its space. While such work may not 
be cleaner than base construction, it is likely to be finer. Its details may 
require more time for development, and their execution will doubtless be 
subject to greater refinement, and possibly even reconsideration, than is 
possible in an overall project. Indeed, it may be desirable to keep this activity 
separate from the completion of construction and simply to assert that its 
execution under the museum's direct supervision is an important indepen- 
dent step in the occupancy process. After all, it is inextricably part of the task 
of organizing the galleries in which collections and exhibitions are displayed. 


Moving into the new art-storage area at the Peabody Museum. (Courtesy Peabody 
Museum of Salem, Massachusetts. Photos: Mark Sexton) 

which must always be among the preeminent concerns of any museum. And 
it is important to remember that this activity extends, with increasingly 
precise execution, to the completion of display mounts and cases, gallery 
lighting, installation typography, and, finally, wall labels and other in- 
terpretive signs. 

For precisely the same reasons, this situation may apply to the completion 
of other art-related spaces, such as storage centers and collection study 
spaces, where museums may want to have direct control and possibly to 
execute the work for storage tills, examining tables, easels, and the like. 
These areas are also likely to require specialized interior installations, with 
special materials and systems, for which a museum may seek particular 
consulting expertise and engage specialized installation crews. 

If the schedule overall is driven by an absolute and immovable opening 
date, the period allocated for initial occupancy must include the time neces- 
sary for these kinds of installation requirements, which also then necessarily 
compresses even further the schedule for the contractor's completion of con- 


struction and the museum's acceptance of space. If the opening date has some 
flexibihty, the time needed to perform this kind of work must simply be buik 
in as one of the first steps after the completion of construction and acceptance 
of the space. 

Moving In and Installing Art 

All other considerations pale by comparison with the determination of when 
and how art is mobilized to occupy new space, and all other hurdles become 
inconsequential when compared with the emotional and psychological issues 
that must be addressed in planning and executing collection moves. Muse- 
ums, after all, are first and foremost about their collections. In theory, hous- 
ing to provide properly for the care and preservation of collections must be 
among the major initiatives for undertaking any museum project, so moving 
works of art into new space comes very close to symbolizing the core accom- 
plishment of any project. 


These moves obviously must be under the direction and supervision of the 
professional staff — the curators and conservators, registrars and preparators, 
who are responsible for the care and safekeeping of collections. Unfortunate- 
ly, the staff must rise to the occasion to accomplish this most critical task at 
precisely the moment when a new facility is at its most vulnerable opera- 
tionally — that is, when it is brand new and therefore, of necessity, not fully 

At the same time, it is only after the sequence of steps outlined earlier has 
been completed that responsible professionals initiate the movement of col- 
lections, and then only when they are satisfied that the requisite criteria for 
environment and safety have been met. Of course, regardless of the specifici- 
ty of these criteria, they are measured in relative rather than absolute terms, 
so the judgment to move in will, at a certain point, be a subjective one. It is 
nonetheless a cautiously managed step. Works of art are most vulnerable 
when they are on the move, and, in spite of all best efforts, collections are 
unquestionably exposed when a major move is in progress. It must also be 
recognized that the staff members who handle art are under enormous pres- 
sure at times such as this. Tight schedules and unfamiliar territory unfortu- 
nately only add to the strain at precisely a time when one would hope for the 
least pressing conditions. Furthermore, it is now that the professional staff is 
confronted for the first time with the functional reality of new facilities, in a 
true test of the planning, design, and execution of the museum's most critical 
support systems and spaces. 

Again, unlimited time to accomplish this step would ease the strain sub- 
stantially; however, moving art only after a new facility is fully tested and all 
installation sites are fully prepared is an ideal that most move-in schedules, 
sandwiched between completion and opening, are not able to accommodate. 

Test Running the Public Facilities 

Testing the mechanical plant, running the systems, and preparing for and 
then receiving and installing art ought to be accomplished only in the pres- 
ence of professionals — staff members, project team members, and hired ex- 
perts whose purpose is to ensure the success not only of each step, but also of 
the entire new museum as an operating facility. However, in reality, a new 
museum must function well not only when occupied by the professionals 
who have nursed it through completion and its preparation for opening, but 
also when fully burdened by the volume of new and unfamiliar public for 
which it has been conceived, designed, and built — a public that is enthusiastic 
but not always obliging. 

Oddly enough, while working through the several other steps described 


here, a new museum environment can begin to take on the aura of a scientific 
laboratory. Perhaps as a reaction against the extent to which so many vari- 
ables in this process are uncontrollable, these final steps can become heavily 
controlled; it becomes easy to forget that museum facilities are not only for 
the knowing professionals, but also for the unknowing, unpredictable, and 
therefore uncontrollable public. Indeed, after the intense concentration of 
moving in, it can be a rude awakening to stumble on public visitors in a new 
museum space. Contrary to the obvious objective of making new facilities for 
the public, visitors can actually seem out of place precisely in those spaces 
designated for them. 

It is therefore essential to remember that new public facilities are indeed 
intended for the public that they will serve. It is important during the move- 
in phase to attempt to test in a number of ways the new facilities' capacity to 
accommodate that public, since it is impossible to assess accurately the suc- 
cess of various designs and systems without exposing them to a substantial 
number of people. 

1. Mechanical systems are designed to meet loads generated by antici- 
pated volumes of traffic. No amount of continuous operation without 
anticipated loads can verify the ability of those systems to perform 
properly and well. 

2. Ticketing and coat-checking systems are designed to handle pro- 
jected rates of traffic flow, and no amount of mechanical testing can 
guarantee that they are able to function as planned. 

3. Public spaces and circulation systems are planned to accommodate 
crowds at certain densities and certain rates of flow, which can be 
tested only by generating those volumes of traffic. 

4. Specialized facilities such as auditoriums and restaurants can be put 
to a true test only by serving capacity crowds. 

These tests, although not easy, can be a crucial last step in the move-in 
process. First, they can help make the transition from the experience of a 
handful of professionals to real public use by putting facilities to the test of 
true operating conditions. Experiencing these conditions before opening can 
stimulate a healthy confidence among those who will shortly be faced with 
running a new site, since the operation of new museum facilities is affected 
by the confidence and experience of the staff responsible for them, as well as 
by the performance of the facilities themselves. 

Although the simulation of a museum crowd is admittedly not easy, staff, 
trustees, and other volunteer support groups are often willing participants in 
these kinds of exercises, which can benefit greatly the staff who will shortly 
be operating, maintaining, and managing new public facilities. 



In summary, given the myriad real and psychological factors that affect 
occupancy and the actual physical demands required for successfully moving 
in, it is too easy to become overwhelmed by details. A few objectives should 
be foremost as the staff works its way toward settling in. 

Sustaining Priorities and Accepting Reality 

It is important to keep in mind the major priorities for building the new 
facilities, and then to insist on complete familiarity with the site as construc- 
tion progresses to ensure that these critical objectives are met. Museums are 
about quality, and quality must be evident in the detailing and execution of 
work in the field. While the achievement of quality can be judged finally only 
when a project is complete and ready for occupancy, it can also be perceived as 
work progresses. While striving for quality and pursuing the ideal, museums 
must also be prepared to accept the realities of new facilities. Spaces can 
extend only to their real physical dimensions. Materials and finishes can be 
exploited only to the limits of their physical properties. Familiarity with the 
site while these realities are taking shape can dispel undue expectations and 
ensure that the result will be appreciated on its own terms. 

Providing Early Access for Staff 

Provide the earliest possible access to the site for operations and maintenance 
staff. To build a facility with quality is only the first step. It must also be 
operated well, and achieving that end requires careful indoctrination. A new 
museum facility is a wholly new animal. Its mechanical systems will have 
been designed by mechanical engineers, who will doubtless employ new and 
sophisticated technologies to meet the criteria that the museum itself has 
specified. Operating staff may well have been consulted in the course of 
planning and designing these systems, but they must get to know the sys- 
tems' capabilities through familiarity with their installation and operation. 

Most mechanical installation contracts will provide for a limited amount of 
this kind of orientation, and the greatest familiarity will come from observing 
during initial occupancy the full process of installing, starting up, and shaking 
down new equipment and systems. Effectively achieving this in-depth famil- 
iarity on the site and through coordination with installation contractors can 
yield confidence in the operation of new equipment and systems, strengthen- 
ing the foundation for a successful move-in. 

Operating staff must also insist on receiving all operating manuals, guides, 
warranty information, as-built documents, and spare stock for all operating 
systems and equipment. These transmittals are an important part of taking 


possession that is often forgotten as attention turns from completion to the 
rigors of operation. 

Maximizing the Schedule for Moving In 

The museum should exert whatever influence it can to preserve an extended 
move-in period, despite completion schedules that fall behind and opening 
dates that, at a certain point, are immovable. Each step in the move-in process 
will seem to need more time than is realistically available. And the time for 
each step will be further compressed by delays in preceding steps. 

A museum has limited control over delays, beginning with its inability to 
guarantee a contractor's compliance with a completion schedule. System 
start-ups can go well or poorly. Gallery and other installation work being 
done on a separate schedule can fall behind. And the movement and installa- 
tion of artwork can proceed only as quickly as these other steps are com- 

In many cases, the official opening date dictates how much time is available 
for each of the preceding occupancy steps. Yet with sufficient lead time and 
planning, the opening date can in fact be somewhat controlled: Does the 
opening date depend on a major traveling exhibition's schedule? Can backup 
planning ease that constraint? If an opening exhibition is being mounted at 
the museum, how much flexibility can there be in its schedule? Does the 
actual opening schedule first contemplate any informal, in-house events lead- 
ing up to a grand opening, such as previews before opening night? How long 
a period is available for this sort of dry run? Such events can enhance the 
move-in process as well as provide some preopening flexibility. These consid- 
erations emphasize as well the importance of open and fluid communication 
during this phase, not just between operating and curatorial staff but also 
with staff and consultants responsible for special events, publicity, and all 
other aspects of a museum's planning for its opening. 

Avoiding the opening squeeze, if at all possible, can enable a museum to 
move with greater confidence from completion to full-scale operation. 

Informing Professional and Administrative Staff 

Enlighten professional and administrative staff about what to expect from 
newly completed facilities. If, over the course of a project's development, the 
project team and its leadership have developed an effective internal network, 
this mechanism will have ensured that professional and administrative staff 
have been kept informed throughout the process. Even well-informed staff 
will need to be briefed about what to expect upon first occupying the new 
space. If there has been no significant involvement along the way, it is even 
more important at this stage that staff members be briefed about new space. 


so that they can know and understand its functional reahties and limitations 
before beginning a move. 

With or without reason, staff may expect that new space can instantly 
provide the perfection that existing space never had or that their vision of 
new space always assumed. The reality, on the other hand, is that, at the 
outset, nothing will work perfectly smoothly. Without a concerted effort to 
defuse unrealistic expectations, it can be difficult to garner the support and 
enthusiasm of the staff, just at the moment when it is most needed to 
mobilize for occupancy. 

Assuming that space is accepted with a punch list, work will remain to be 
done, and contractor's representatives and work crews will have to have some 
access to the building. It is also highly unlikely that precise environmental 
control will have been achieved fully at the time move-in begins. The staff 
should be made aware of these and other similar conditions, and the project 
team should communicate its commitment to limiting and controlling them. 
It is important that the leadership's message at this moment dispel any sense 
of benign resignation to what cannot be achieved. 

Since the prospect of a move makes everyone feel vulnerable, the project 
team's efforts to communicate in this way can help to ensure a climate of 
understanding and security. It can also effectively heighten staff awareness of 
the problems and questions relating to moving in and make staff part of the 
expanded team for controlling and containing those conditions that may still 
be unresolved. In this way, moving in becomes a mutual effort among those 
who have been involved with a project's execution and those who will occupy 
the completed space and be responsible for its operation, as well as for the care 
and safekeeping of the collections it will house. 

Monitoring the Details of Completion and Possession 

Regardless of the temptation to put such matters as securing permits, arrang- 
ing inspections, and filing for certified occupancy in the hands of an expediter 
and of the architect and contractors who are formally responsible for them 
and who may well assert that these matters are being "taken care of," a 
museum must stay close to this process until it is completed. Having readied 
an entire operating and professional staff to mobilize for moving in, nothing 
could be more frustrating than to be stymied by the failure of others to take 
care of such technicalities. 




No MOVE HAPPENS Overnight. With phased occupancy, the steps out- 
Uned in Chapter 15 may in fact extend over a long period of time 
and involve equally long periods of dislocation and temporary re- 
location. Sooner or later, though, a museum finds itself fully installed in its 
new facilities. As in every other stage of this process, concerns then will 
almost immediately arise, and on the same two fronts as during every other 
phase of the project: the physical and the psychological. 

As has been emphasized repeatedly, new facilities are never perfect, and, to 
temper heady anticipation and unrealistic expectations, this point needs to be 
stressed at all times. After the move, it will be clear not only that facilities are 
not perfect but also that, in seemingly endless ways, numerous items of work 
will remain incomplete and possibly even be wrong. When incomplete, they 
become part of the final punch list. When they are wrong, other consider- 
ations must be made. 

If architectural and construction contracts have been well executed, the 
museum will have recourse to them to ensure that errors and omissions on 
the part of the architect, general contractor, or trade contractors engaged 
through a construction manager are addressed. If such items are clearly 
identified in contract documents as the contractor's responsibility, they be- 
come part of the punch list of remaining work. However, it is more often the 
case that these kinds of errors and omissions arise from ambiguities in the 



documents, and they must then be resolved through negotiation. If mistakes 
or omissions are the architect's, similar protections are available, but they, 
too, are likely to be resolved through negotiation. Clearly, completion and 
occupancy rarely signal final completion, and the project team should stay 
intact until well after the move. In all likelihood, the members who have been 
most closely involved during construction and completion will be involved in 
an extended period of negotiation to resolve errors and omissions, as well as 
to oversee the resolution of outstanding punch-list work. 

If negotiation with contractors and architects is necessary, the retainage 
that, on the basis of contractual terms, the museum withholds from pay- 
ments for completed work will be its leverage in dealing with unresolved 
items at a project's conclusion. That sum should not be released without full 
consideration of work that the architects or contractors may have failed to 
perform or that may have been performed unsatisfactorily. 

A second major category of mistakes results not from contractual errors, 
which can be relatively clear-cut, but from a museum's own errors of judg- 
ment. The experience of being in a new space is far different from the 
experience of planning it. Once a museum occupies new facilities, it will 
almost inevitably begin to feel that some of its decisions were wrong. Staff 
will experience waves of this kind of uncertainty in the short time that 
follows completed occupancy and opening. The urge to rethink is real, and it 
should not be denied; nor can it be ignored. At the same time, every caution 
should be made against reacting too quickly and calling immediately for 
change. No contract protects a museum against its own such reactions. No 
mechanism exists magically to fund changes that may seem to be required 
because of a museum's own reconsideration of designs that it has approved 
and caused to be executed. 

Every effort should be made to prolong the review of such issues to allow 
for some perspective after a museum has settled into its new home and has 
been able to evaluate with some objectivity the operation of its facilities. 
Changes made too soon do not necessarily yield improvements. And, after 
exercising fiscal restraint throughout a project's development, this is not the 
moment to become financially irresponsible by spending funds on hastily 
conceived alterations. 

It is a certainty that all will not be right, however, and at some point, 
changes will be warranted on the basis of a museum's assessment of its new 
facilities. This condition should not be interpreted as an indication of an 
unsuccessful project. It should simply be accepted as the fine-tuning that 
comes as a benefit of experiencing the completion and operation of new space. 


Nothing affects professionals more deeply than the environments in which 
they work and carry out their professional obligations. If the project- 
development process has successfully engaged a museum's staff, that staff will 


certainly have developed a sense of ownership of newly completed facilities. 
They may or may not turn out to be what was expected. The reality may or 
may not conform with the staff's memory of its conception. During the 
enormous adjustment that will be required in the move to new facilities, 
nothing will be perfect, and completed space may in fact not be fully complete 
for some time. A fond memory of what existed previously, regardless of how 
inadequate it may have been, may seem more appealing than what is new. It 
is important to remember that these feelings will simply take a long time to 

It is also important to remember that completion of a project will represent 
for all the conclusion to a monumental undertaking. Staff will have worked 
hard to achieve this goal, and it will be difficult to see this accomplishment as 
other than an end in itself. Nonetheless, at the exhausting, and hopefully 
exhilarating, moment of completion, it is not easy for the staff to look 
immediately to the next horizon, and some postpartum depression is to be 
expected. At such a time, a little rest is in order. Recognition of the level of 
the staff's participation is certainly called for, and credit should be given 
where it is due; taking stock of the accomplishment that has been achieved 
can have a restorative effect. 

Such an exercise should not be interpreted as undue coddling or unseemly 
self-congratulation. Too many museums have successfully completed build- 
ing projects only to find themselves feeling inexplicably unfulfilled, with 
their staffs burned out and unable to make the transition to the challenges of 
the future. There are no simple answers here, but understanding the phe- 
nomenon is helpful. 


The psychological state just described offers an appropriate prelude to some 
closing thoughts on institutional life after completing a major building pro- 
gram. Once a project is over and the figurative dust has settled, a museum 
must perforce carry on and accept outright the burden of moving forward in a 
manner that fulfills the goals and objectives that have been formed, re- 
formed, and refined during the course of the project's progressive stages as 
outlined in this book. 

The initial concept, shaped and refined in response to stated needs, and 
then evaluated in the context of programming, financial, and operating as- 
sumptions and projections, has finally been realized in newly completed 
space. This larger context then immediately becomes the framework, albeit 
theoretical, for evaluating the finished project, together with its program- 
ming and operating capabilities. What were the original expectations for the 
new facilities? What were the programming assumptions derived from the 
consideration of how to use those facilities? What were the operating projec- 
tions generated by those programming assumptions? 


Kenovation projects can be especially vexing, complicated by logistical complex- 
ities, harrowing relocations, and general operational discomfort. However, when 
existing gallery and nongallery spaces are rebuilt to provide new gallery space 
for museum collections, the results can be particularly rewarding. At two muse- 
ums, renovation produced subtly yet significantly enhanced gallery environ- 
ments for displaying collections, using new technologies for environmental con- 
trol and lighting and fresh design detailing. 


The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Evans Wing (Guy Lowell, 1915). Renovation in 
progress (a) and completed installation (b) of the Impressionist Gallery (I. M. Pel & 
Partners, 1982-1986). (Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) 



The Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Before (a) and after (b) 
renovation of painting and sculpture collection galleries (Newman &: Jones, 1988- 
1990). (Courtesy Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel 
Hill. Photos: [a] Quintin Sawyer; [b] Jerry Blow) 



Many new museum buildings, once complete, become symbols through their 
architectural distinctiveness, as is certainly true of Frank Lloyd Wright's original 
Guggenheim Museum and, in this past decade, Richard Meier's design for the 
High Museum, Atlanta. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. The rotunda, looking down from 
above (Frank Lloyd Wright, 1959). (Photo: David Heald) 


High Museum of Art, Atlanta (Richard Meier & Partners, 1983). (Photo: Alan McGee) 

These are the questions that were asked during the initial planning phase 
and that, from the first determination of a preliminary concept, stimulated an 
outline of long-range planning considerations about a building's future oper- 
ating potential. Now, these issues and the projections that evolved from them 
can be reviewed again. The point of the exercise is not, however, to judge the 
completed project's success, but to understand the uninterrupted flow from 
initial planning assumptions to a project's operating reality. 

The completed project, the product of its planning process, now becomes a 
living and breathing institution, which itself becomes the basis for its own 
future planning efforts. The tools and techniques used to forge a new muse- 
um — refinement of mission, assessment of needs and resources, and long- 
range planning in the context of programmatic, financial, and operating re- 
quirements — are simply adapted to become the tools and techniques for 
planning and sustaining the museum's future. The operating projections of 
the planning phase, modified, become the operating results of the new muse- 
um, and those results then form the basis for projecting the museum's oper- 
ating future. 


Acknowledging this flow from past to present to future is helpful in coming 
to terms with new museum facilities. They do not stand alone as completed 
space. They must be evaluated on the basis of the considerations that formed 
them. And those considerations will provide the basis for judging the perfor- 
mance of new facilities in relation to future needs and responsibilities. That 
this continuum may one day lead to the need or desire once again for new 
space only reinforces the notion of an organic whole, binding past, present, 
and future through responsive and responsible institutional planning. 



Although many museums claim in their promotional literature that cultural 
institutions are open to all, museum design in the past has not always been 
this accommodating. Inappropriately designed parking areas, walkways, en- 
trances, elevators, telephones, drinking fountains, door hardware, toilets, 
auditoriums, exhibitions, and the like have precluded the use of museums for 
an increasing number of disabled and older people. Visitors are not the only 
people who must be considered: there are disabled museum employees, art- 
ists, administrators, board members, and donors. Accessibility must extend 
beyond the public spaces into all areas of museums, i 

All people must have access to and be able to participate in our country's 
rich and diverse museums. The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) man- 
dates such access to all places of public accommodation. Common decency 
demands it, and good business sense dictates it. This goal can be achieved, 
however, only if museums are built according to universal design principles 
and if exhibitions are presented in ways that allow everyone to participate. 

Museum administrators cannot assume that they may leave the details of 
accessibility to the architect(s) and special program staff. Accessibility is an 
issue in which all staff members must become involved. All aspects of the 
organization — membership, public relations, fund-raising, gift-shop sales, 
exhibition design — and all staff members must be involved in ensuring that 
all people, whether they are short or tall, old or young, disabled or not, will 
be able to understand the program and have access to it. 

The demographics of our society are rapidly changing. A 1986 study by the 
Bureau of the Census concluded that more than ■}■] million people out of a 
population of 181 million noninstitutionalized persons age fifteen or older 


had functional limitations; 13.5 million in this group had severe limitations. 
Of those with severe limitations, ^^ percent, or 7.5 million, were sixty-five 
years of age and older. These figures become even more important when we 
look at the expected growth in both the number and the percentage of the 
older population during the twenty-first century. By 2000, we expect there to 
be 35 million people over the age of sixty-five. By 2030, when the last of the 
baby-boom generation reaches age sixty-five, there will be 64.4 million older 
adults, or one out of every five Americans. It is likely that nearly 60 percent 
of these people will have functional limitations. At the same time, the 
number of people over age seventy-five who have disabilities will reach 
almost 30 million, or about 10 percent of the population. And these numbers 
do not include children, who benefit from many access features; parents 
pushing strollers; temporarily disabled individuals; or the families, friends, 
and associates of persons with physical disabilities. 

Disabled people are not as limited as is often presumed and are in virtually 
all professions and in all types of jobs. Individuals who do not have dis- 
abilities today, of course, may also be temporarily or permanently disabled 
tomorrow. The conditions they have will not likely change the things they 
like to do or the skills they were trained to perform, especially with the 
advent of new medical and rehabilitation training and technology. Physical 
barriers can be overcome through training, personal assistance, assistive de- 
vices, or architectural modifications. Because of our reliance on assistive 
devices as one of the means of accommodation, we must design the environ- 
ment to accommodate these devices and new technologies (assistive listening 
systems, wheelchairs, walkers, and such) as well as the people they serve. 

Disabled people should be involved in the planning and design of muse- 
ums. Understanding the various abilities of the people who will use museums 
is critical in designing facilities. 

The study of accessible design over the last twenty-five years has shown 
that there are a few basic functional abilities that must be considered in 
designing buildings so that they can be used by the vast majority of the 
public. Those abilities are mobility, vision and hearing, and dexterity. 


People whose mobility is impaired range from those who lack stamina or 
strength, who may use a cane or lower-leg brace, to those who are totally 
unable to walk and may have little or no use of their arms, shoulders, and 
hands. They use a range of mobility aids: crutches, canes, walkers, standard 
manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and the increasingly common three- 
wheel scooter. Changes in level pose serious problems to this group unless 
there are ramps or the floors are served by an elevator or a lift. 


Those who can walk but do so with difficuhy may also have trouble sitting, 
bending, and kneeling and may be hampered by having their hands occupied 
with walking aids. Many of those who use walkers, canes, and crutches lack 
stamina or strength. They need direct access from transportation to en- 
trances, and stable, firm, slip-resistant walking surfaces. Grab bars in toilets 
and handrails at steps and ramps are crucial. Resting places at frequent inter- 
vals may be a necessity. 


Visual Impairments 

Visually impaired persons may be totally blind or, like many older people, 
have limited vision. Some are able only to perceive light and dark, whereas 
some may see a very fuzzy image of the world. They need stable and firm 
pathways that are free of protruding objects or obstructions. Cantilevered 
drinking fountains, for example, sometimes protrude into a corridor and are 
undetectable by the long canes used by many visually impaired people or 
people with low vision. Many low-vision people (including older adults) have 
great difficulty reading standard print and exhibition signs. It is hard for 
them to distinguish the edges of objects. Items on display must be examined 
closely. Glass display cases often keep objects at a distance, where viewing is 
impossible. High contrast, large-print signs and labeling, carefully designed 
displays, and good lighting are essential. It is important to note that older 
people may need twice the lighting that younger people with average vision 
need. While we must attempt to avoid glare, brighter lighting is needed at 
stairs or turning points along a path. 

Information desks and other sources of audible information are most useful 
for all visually impaired persons. Descriptive audio cassettes can provide self- 
guided tours while describing significant features of objects that may be hard 
to examine through glass display cases. A vision-impaired person's experi- 
ence and appreciation of an object is enhanced by exploring it through touch. 

Hearing Impairments 

People with hearing impairments have great difficulty communicating with 
others and receiving audible information. Those with partial hearing may 
depend on hearing aids. Others rely on sign language, writing, or lip reading. 
Carpeting and other soft surfaces can significantly improve the acoustic en- 
vironment by keeping reverberation and other confusing background noises 
to a minimum. Auditory signals such as fire alarms and announcements on 
public-address systems cannot be heard by deaf people and must be supple- 


merited with visual information, especially in the case of emergency warn- 


People with dexterity impairments include those with amputated arms, 
hands, or fingers; those with upper-spinal-cord injuries; and the increasing 
number of people who experience difficulty because of arthritis or rheu- 
matism. For these people, gripping, twisting the hand at the wrist, and fine 
finger coordination may be impossible. The "closed fist" rule (it must be 
possible to turn on a faucet or open a door with a closed fist) has been 
developed to remind designers of the needs of this population. Lever hard- 
ware on doors and lavatories, large buttons on vending machines and elevator 
controls, and large rocker switches (instead of small wall switches) are exam- 
ples of controls that the vast majority of the population is able to use with 
independence and dignity. 


Older people not only are more likely to have multiple impairments, but are 
subject to accidents and falls that frequently result in injuries or additional 
temporary impairments. Stairs are the most common cause of falls. 


Architectural Barriers Act (1968) 

In 1968 Congress passed landmark legislation that signaled the beginning of 
mandated access in the public buildings of the United States. The Architec- 
tural Barriers Act stated that any building or facility with any federally 
funded construction must be designed to be accessible to the disabled. All 
public construction, whether new or renovation, was to be designed to be 
accessible from that time on. 

Section ^04 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) 

In 1973 Congress went further and required access to all federally funded 
programs. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is the most important na- 
tional legislation concerning accessibility to federally funded cultural facili- 
ties. The National Endowment for the Arts' The Arts and ^04-a ^04 Hand- 
book states that the federal law does not "require access to every area of a 


museum. . . . Instead, portions of programs and facilities will suffice, pro- 
vided that disabled people have an equal opportunity to the organization's 
program offerings when viewed in their entirety." Section 504 references the 
Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) for design guidance. 2 In 
addition, designers should look to their local building codes and the access 
guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act to determine the most 
restrictive criteria. Because disabled persons can often suggest effective and 
inexpensive ways to design for accessibility, forming an advisory committee 
of persons with various kinds of disabilities to help plan and evaluate museum 
programs and activities is highly recommended. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) 

In 1990 Congress passed the most far-reaching of its regulations to date, 
extending the guarantee of accessibility as a basic civil right to all people in all 
places of public accommodation. For the first time, the mandate of ac- 
cessibility extended to private buildings that are open to the public. The 
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires immediate modifications to 
correct accessibility problems that are "readily achievable." It also requires all 
new construction (and any renovation) to be designed and built in accordance 
with the Americans with Disabilities Act AccessibiUty Guidelines (ADAAG). 

Building Codes or Construction Standards 

All these laws cite a set of construction standards as the means of accomplish- 
ing accessibility. The basic standard is the American National Standards 
Institute's (ANSI) A117.1. This standard, first published in 1961, gives de- 
tailed information on how to design a building so that it can be used by 
disabled and older people. ANSI A117.1, in its current version, is used as the 
basis of all federal, national, and state building codes. The most important of 
these are the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards and the Americans 
with Disabilities Act AccessibiUty Guidelines. These regulations differ from 
ANSI A117.1 in one important way: they specify the number of elements or 
spaces that must be made accessible, whereas ANSI only describes how to go 
about making the space or element accessible. Architects and designers must 
be familiar with ANSI, UFAS, and ADAAG. 


Universal design is a revolutionary but practical leap forward in the evolution 
of design. It is a way of designing spaces and products at little or no extra cost 
so they are both attractive and functional for all people, regardless of age or 


disability. The intent is to remove the "special" label and eliminate the 
institutional appearance of many current accessible designs. Improved design 
standards, better information, new products, and lovi^er costs have made it 
possible for design professionals to begin designing all buildings, interiors, 
and products to be usable by everyone, instead of responding only to the 
minimum demands of law^s that require a few special features for disabled 
people. Universal design is a concept that makes economic and social sense. 
By incorporating the basic access features and universally designed products 
and elements into the building design, a variety of users will be guaranteed 
accessibility over the life of a facility and throughout their own lives. 

The concept of universal design has become widely accepted with the 
adoption of the ANSI standards by over thirty-five states and with the 
adoption of uniform accessibility standards by the federal government. As a 
result, almost all building codes now reference common design standards, and 
universality of details is becoming commonplace. This uniformity makes it 
possible for designers to apply one set of minimum technical requirements to 
all their design projects. It also makes it possible for product manufacturers to 
produce larger runs of lower-cost products that can be marketed across the 

Accessibility is not only a law, but also an important consideration for 
safety and for audience development. Further, universal designers find that 
design that is good for disabled people is also safer and easier to use for the 
entire population. Disabled people can be expected to be among a museum's 
board, employees, and volunteers, as well as visitors. In a world of hmited 
human and fiscal resources, it makes eminent sense to open museum doors to 
everyone. To ignore these populations not only violates the law, wastes 
money, and Hmits potential, but also denies millions of citizens the oppor- 
tunities to experience our nation's vast cultural wealth. 

Since the early 1960s, much has been learned about how to achieve accessi- 
ble design in a cost-effective manner. Studies have shown that access features 
integrated into the early concept stages of the design of new facihties increase 
costs by less than .5 percent on most projects. The key is early planning. 
Universal-design concepts will make the most impact if included in the initial 
basic planning and conceptualization of the process. They should then be 
applied and considered during the conceptual-design, plan-development, 
product-specification, and design-documentation stages. 

Products must be carefully considered, too, for their ease of use, such as 
appropriate door hardware for people with arthritis and low-nap carpet for 
those who use wheelchairs. When it is impossible to select universal products 
or details, it is important to provide a variety of options to allow people with 
different abilities to use the service or product. Pay telephones are an example 
of a product that cannot be positioned at a height that is accessible to all 
individuals. Therefore, if a bank of public telephones is provided, it is desir- 


able to mount them at various heights to accommodate wheelchair users, 
short people, and children, as well as taller standing adults. 

The focus is inclusion and access with dignity. For example, wheelchair 
seating should be integrated into assembly areas by removing two seats along 
the aisles. The space must be 30 inches by 60 inches and level, enabling the 
audience member to sit with companions. Stage and backstage areas must be 
wheelchair accessible as well. 

Technological advances in modern electronics are making universally de- 
signed products economically feasible. Infrared listening systems, remote 
alarms, wireless devices, and computers open up unlimited possibilities for 
communicating information to people with all types of perception abilities. In 
today's society, it will always cost more to build a few special and different 
features than to mass-produce them to be usable by everyone. 

Program Evaluation 

Once the new facility or space has been built, it is important that museum 
staff take the final step and evaluate plans for setting up exhibitions and 
presenting information. It is extremely important at this phase to work with 
a committee of knowledgeable people to evaluate the accessibility of museum 
programs. This committee must include not only museum staff, but also 
people with various disabilities. This approach has been shown to be the most 
cost-effective way of planning and evaluating programs and services. Several 
of the publications listed in the bibliography discuss proven methods of effec- 
tively using such advisory committees. 

As with any audience-development effort, including disabled and older 
people in the program and facility planning and evaluation process can im- 
prove significantly the quality of the museum experience. By adopting uni- 
versal design, museums will not only comply with the law, but also be able to 
offer all visitors an easier, more informative and enjoyable experience. As our 
population continues to change and grow, the universally designed museum 
will be valued and vital for years to come. 


1. This appendix makes extensive use of material from Ruth Hall Lusher and Ronald L. 
Mace, "Design for Physical and Mental Disabilities," in The Encyclopedia of Architecture 
(New York: Wiley, 1989). The author wishes to thank the pubUsher and authors for 
permission to use material from their work in this effort to further the accessibility of 
museums throughout the world. 

2. The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, an independent 
federal agency, is a major resource for accessibility solutions, materials, and information 
(including free copies of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards [UFAS] and the 
Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines). They are available from the 


board, iiii i8th Street NW, Suite 501, Washington, D.C. 20036; (800) 872-2253 (phone 


Adaptive Environments Center. Access Improvements Workbook: Help for Facility Man- 
agers in Preparing Capital Budget Requests. Boston: Adaptive Environments Cen- 
ter, 1986. 

Step-by step planning guide created for use in Massachusetts state faciUties to 
provide accessibiUty for people with disabilities. Explicit information concerning 
architectural features (doorways, elevators, signs, bathrooms) makes it broadly 
applicable for institutional use. Includes a facility survey and cost-estimate forms. 
Not a code manual. 

American National Standards Institute. American National Standard for Buildings and 
Facilities: Providing Accessibility to Usability for Physically Handicapped People. 
New York: American National Standards Institute, 1986. 

Basic illustrated technical standards on which all other building codes, guidebooks, 
and technical manuals are based. 

Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Washington, D.C, 

Accessibility standards for new construction and alterations in places of public 
accommodation and commercial facilities, as required by the Americans with Dis- 
abilities Act (1990). The guidelines ensure that facilities are accessible to and usable 
by individuals with disabilities in terms of architecture, design, and communica- 

Battaglia, David. The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Historic Struc- 
tures. Washington, D.C: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1991. 

Discusses the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on historic resources 
and reviews how a number of organizations have taken innovative approaches to 
preserving the past while making it accessible to everyone. 

Bowe, Frank. Rehabilitating America: Toward Independence for Disabled and Elderly 
People. New York: Harper & Row, 1980. 

Explores what society must do to make it possible for older and disabled people to 
function productively and creatively. Includes a bibliography. 

Bureau of the Census. Disability, Functional Limitation and Health Insurance Coverage 
1984/85. Series P-70, no. 8. Washington, D.C: Government Printing Office, 

Data and information about people with disabilities based on the Survey of Income 
and Program Participation conducted from May to August 1984. Provides social, 
economic, and insurance statistics on the 37 million people with functional limita- 
tions, out of the population of 181 million noninstitutionalized individuals age 
fifteen and older. 

Department of the Interior, Special Programs and Populations. Accommodation of Dis- 
abled Visitors at Historic Sites in the National Park System. Washington, D.C: 
Government Printing Office, 1983. 

Suggests ways to resolve problems concerning differences between the needs of 
disabled visitors and preserving the integrity of historic sites. Includes many pho- 


tographs and drawings, worksheets, case studies, a list of access devices and sup- 
pliers, excerpts from pertinent laws and regulations, and a bibliography. 

General Services Administration, Department of Defense, Department of Housing and 
Urban Development, U.S. Postal Service. Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. 
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1985. 

Sets standards for facility accessibility by physically disabled persons for federal 
and federally funded facilities. Includes copy of the Architectural Barriers Act 
(Public Law 90-480) of August 12, 1968, as amended through 1984. 

Grinder, Alison L., and E. Sue McCoy. The Good Guide: A Sourcebook for Interpreters, 
Docents and Tour Guides. Scottsdale, Ariz. : Ironwood, 1985. 

An all-inclusive manual that provides background on learning processes and ap- 
plication of learning theories to museum touring, as well as details of the training 
of guides in all kinds of museums. Sections devoted to touring for older adults as 
well as disabled visitors. Includes bibliographies with each chapter. 

Groff, Gerda, with Laura Gardner. Photos by Oraien E. Catedge. What Museum Guides 
Need to Know. Access for Blmd and Visually Impaired Visitors, 1989. 

How to make facilities and programs readily available to blmd and visually im- 
paired people, including a training outline for museum professionals, a bibliogra- 
phy on art and museum access for blind and visually impaired people, and guide- 
Hnes for preparing large-print, braille, and cassette materials. 

Kenney, Alice B. "Museums from a Wheelchair." Museum News 53, no. 4 (December 
1974): 14-17. 

Still timely in its down-to-earth suggestions concerning exhibition installation and 
graphics from the point of view of a visitor in a wheelchair. Reminds museums of 
the need for collaboration between themselves and community organizations rep- 
resenting disabled people. 

Lifchez, Raymond, et al. Getting There: A Guide to Accessibility for Your Facility. Sacra- 
mento: California Department of Rehabilitation, 1979. 

Ways to achieve better physical accessibility in existing facilities; procedures for 
evaluation, establishing priorities, and considering both physical and social/ 
attitudinal aspects. Includes cost estimates, which, although they must be adjusted 
for current cost levels, are still helpful. Appendix includes bibliography. 

Majewski, Janice. Part of Your General Public Is Disabled: A Handbook for Guides in 
Museums, Zoos, and Historic Houses. Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution 
Press, 1974. 

An informative manual and companion video, with full descriptions of mental and 
physical disabilities, that, along with suggestions as to attitudes and techniques, 
provide sufficient information to make the inclusion of disabled people in regular 
museum tours an ordinary occurrence. Includes a list of resource agencies and a 

National Endowment for the Arts. The Arts and ^04-a ^04 Handbook for Accessible Arts 
Programming. Washington, D.C: Government Printing Office, 1985. 

Clear and concise explanations of the endowment's 504 Regulations and descrip- 
tions of various approaches to access through design, audience development, and 
staff training. Discusses specific arts disciplines — the visual arts, performing arts, 
literary, media, and design arts. Marginal notes suggest publications, films, and 
organizations pertinent to the subject matter. 


Walker, Lou Ann, and Nancy Rosenblatt Richner. Museum Accessibility for Hearing- 
Impaired People. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1983. 

Report on a project that involved bringing deaf and hearing-impaired persons into 
ongoing museum programs. Museums range from The Museum of Modern Art to 
The New York Zoological Society to The New York Botanical Garden. Evaluations 
and recommendations for starting a similar project. 



Thinking of the art museum in terms of a highly technical machine may help 
the client address difficult technical issues early in the planning process. The 
machine-like functions of the building have a significant impact on its design. 
If ignored, they may result in design modifications that affect the aesthetics 
of the museum. The client must convey to the architect, generally in the 
architectural program, the performance criteria necessary to meet the phys- 
ical needs of the collection and to ensure the safe operation of the museum. 
Specifications can be stated in quantitative terms — light levels, temperature, 
relative humidity, and air quality — or in terms of needs, qualitative or spe- 
cific. These specifications u^ill vary from institution to institution; in the 
absence of guidance from the museum, the architect will have to rely on 
building codes, published industry standards, or experience to set parameters, 
which may or may not be sufficient for the needs of a particular collection or 


Establishing performance criteria for the museum environment is a balancing 
act from the beginning. The conditions best suited for the preservation of the 
collection are weighed against the comfort of staff and visitors. The climate 
and site, and the well-being of the building itself, must be considered, es- 
pecially in the case of an existing or a historical structure, which may be 
threatened by the very conditions that best safeguard a collection. Costs must 
also be factored in, and actual costs include not only the initial expense for 
equipment but also the life-cycle costs of maintenance and operation. 


Relative Humidity and Temperature 

Although we tend to think of collections in terms of their curatorial divisions, 
the temperature and humidity requirements for objects within each depart- 
ment can vary greatly. Research has shown that of the two values, relative 
humidity is the more critical for the preservation of objects. All organic 
substances seek a state of equilibrium with the relative humidity of their 
environment. Below 35 percent at room temperature, objects tend to dry out, 
shrink, or become brittle. At high relative humidities, above 6^ percent, they 
may swell. Paper can stain, soluble glues may weaken, and mold can appear. 
Changes in temperature cause expansion and contraction of heat-conducting 
materials such as metals. Heat can also desiccate organic materials and raise 
the rate of chemical activity by a factor of two for every increase of i8°F. 
However, moderate variations in temperature may not be deleterious as long 
as the relative humidity is stable. 

An exercise that has proved useful to many museums has been to class 
objects by categories of sensitivity. The number or percentage of objects in 
each department can then be charted on a matrix. The result may suggest 
certain strategies for the design of storage and exhibition areas. While appro- 
priate categories may vary from institution to institution, the following 
guidelines from the Royal Ontario Museum are given as an example of one 
possible method. 1 The same exercise, using light as a category of sensitivity, 
is useful in determining appropriate light levels (see Appendix D). 

Group I: Objects able to tolerate variable conditions 

Ceramics, unpolychromed stone and marble, gold, silver, stable 

RH 25 percent winter minimum, 50 percent summer maximum, ± 10 

percent RH daily 
Temp. 70°F to j6°¥ 

Group II: Objects that require stable conditions 

Organic materials, paintings on canvas, wood furniture, poly- 
chromed wood, cellulosic materials, paper, books, textiles and cos- 
tumes, leather, parchment, bone, ivory (including miniature paint- 
RH }^ percent winter minimum, 50 percent summer maximum, ± 6 

percent RH daily 
Temp. 7o°F to y6°¥ 

(Some conservators recommend tighter tolerances than does the Royal On- 
tario Museum for relative humidity, suggesting a range of 35 to 45 percent 
RH with only a 2 percent variation.) 

Group III: Objects that require extremely stable conditions 

Inlaid, gilded and lacquered furniture, wooden musical instru- 


ments, panel paintings on wood, icons, illuminated manuscripts, 
Japanese screens 

RH 50 percent ± 2 percent daily 

Temp. 70°F to -/6°Y 

Group IV: Objects that require dry conditions 

Iron and steel, archeological bronze, unstable or iridescent glass, 

textiles with metal attachments 
RH 20 percent minimum, 35 percent maximum 

Temp. 70°F to 76°? 

Group V: Objects that require cool conditions 

Fur and fur-trimmed garments, birdskin garments 
RH 30 percent ± 5 percent 

Temp. 40° F 

Micro-Climates and Buffering 

Traditionally, the burden of providing an appropriate environment has been 
placed on the mechanical systems, which have not always been up to the task. 
Once the conservation analysis has revealed the array of sensitivities, the 
number of objects actually requiring stringent conditions may be fewer than 
anticipated. If this is the case, the systems may be designed to less exacting 
standards. An object requiring precise controls can be accommodated in a 
micro-climate — that is, an air-tight container or case that resists environ- 
mental swings in the immediate surroundings. For example, in a gallery of oil 
paintings, one or two panel paintings might be accommodated in a special case 
with internal climate control. On a larger scale, if a number of objects that 
would be exhibited together is substantially different as a group from other 
parts of the collection, its gallery or galleries might be segregated into a 
discrete heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) zone (in much the 
same way as conservatories that have desert houses and tropical houses). 
Chinese garments might be shown in a gallery next to, but in a different 
HVAC zone from, related bronzes. 

Micro-climates in the form of sealed storage cabinets for wrapped or boxed 
objects can be considered for storage to provide added stability. By locating 
storage areas carefully within the building, it is possible to take advantage of 
passive buffering. The spaces on the perimeter of a building are more likely to 
be affected by weather changes than those buried deep in the interior. Sen- 
sitive objects can in this way be given micro-environments, rather than 
making the whole building a macro-climate. 


Maintaining Environmental Control 

The axiom that the ideal dimate is 72°F ± 2° and 50 percent RH ± 5 percent 
has in recent years come into question because, although it may represent an 
ideal, it has proved difficult and expensive to sustain in many museums. 
Contained spaces, such as interior storage rooms, may not pose a problem, 
but areas on the perimeter of the building and areas subject to opening doors, 
large crowds, or exhibition lighting may be difficult to control. 

The mechanical systems that provide critical conditions are often less than 
perfect. Humidity sensors are often inaccurate and the systems slow to react. 
Existing buildings may have multiple systems that have been installed over 
many years. Changing use patterns and remodeling create additional prob- 
lems, even for the best of systems. Settings and the actual operation of the 
systems may be inaccurate and incorrect. Tight standards that may be impos- 
sible or too expensive to meet reasonably often lead to dissatisfaction and 
frustration. Also, many museums work against their systems' effectiveness 
by not operating and maintaining them correctly. 

Strict environmental standards may have consequences for buildings, es- 
pecially older, masonry buildings in cold climates. Moisture migration 
through the walls of buildings results when there is a difference of humidity 
and temperature between the interior and the exterior at different times of 
the year. During the winter, condensation (and even ice) may form as the 
warm, moist air of the interior permeates the wall encountering the cold, dry 
air outside. The reverse happens in hot weather when the HVAC system is in 
its air-conditioning, dehumidifying mode. The moisture in the exterior air 
meets cool, dry surfaces inside and causes condensation inside the building. 
The problem is exacerbated when a positive air pressure is established inside 
to prevent outside polluted air from penetrating into the filtered environ- 
ment. Heavy insulation in walls and attics, double or triple glazing, and vapor 
barriers are used to buffer the building. Unfortunately, an absolutely imper- 
meable vapor barrier is difficult to achieve, especially as a retrofit in an 
existing building, and if not absolutely airtight it can itself cause damage. 

Some museums have, therefore, set standards that allow for seasonal varia- 
tions. For example, from The Art Institute of Chicago's program: 

The desired settings are: 68°F temperature and 40% relative humidity 
in the winter and 75°F temperature and 50% relative humidity in sum- 
mer. Fluctuations should be held to a minimum, especially for relative 
humidity, with maximum variation in the range of plus or minus 3° and 
3% from desired settings. The change from winter to summer settings 
and vice versa shall be gradual over a period of months. The Special 
Exhibit area may require maintenance of 50% relative humidity in 
winter for selected exhibits. Special requirements for higher or lower 
settings will be handled within a sealed case or specially equipped room. 
Some exceptions are noted on the detailed room requirement sheets. 


The J. Paul Getty Museum in southern CaUfornia has a far less brutal climate 
to deal with, but its criteria also allow for controlled fluctuations: 

ITlhe basic need is for highly filtered air maintained constantly at (i) a 
control temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, never ranging lower than 
68 degrees or higher than 72 degrees and never varying by more than 2 
degrees in any 24 hour period, and (2) a relative humidity of 55%, 
never going below 48% nor higher than 62% and never varying by 
more than 3% over any 24 hour period or 5% in any 72 hour period. 

Air Quality 

Indoor pollutants come from a variety of sources: the building materials, the 
mechanical systems, human occupants, the objects themselves, and the intru- 
sion of outside air. 

Building Materials 

New concrete is usually alkaline and, although dry to the touch, requires time 
to cure and release its moisture. Chemicals used in the manufacture of many 
common building materials — plywood and insulation, for example — can be 
the source of formaldehyde. Interior finishes, as well as the sealing and 
adhesive substances used with carpets and wall coverings, may also emit 
noxious gases. A minimum period of sixty to ninety days with HVAC sys- 
tems in full operation is generally recommended to purge interior spaces of 
construction residuals. 

Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) Systems 
Much indoor air pollution, gaseous and particulate, is delivered by ventilating 
systems. Without filtering, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and 
ozone (O3) can reach high enough concentrations to affect collections se- 
riously. If not vented properly, solvents used in conservation laboratories and 
workshops may find their way into other parts of the building. Anticorrosive 
chemicals used in the steam lines of the central plant can be extremely 
deleterious to objects. Deposits of dust, soot, tobacco smoke, and even lint 
from visitors' clothing can accumulate with amazing rapidity if not effectively 

Outdoor Pollution 

As many museums forsake their parkland sites in favor of downtown loca- 
tions, collections become increasingly subject to industrial and automobile 
emissions. Smog is a problem for many museums in urban settings; the 
placement of air intakes should be carefully considered. 

There seems to be a relative consensus in recently published standards for 
air quality, although exact specifications and suggested methods may vary. 2 
Filtration of air-borne particulates is specified in terms of efficiency and 
size — for example, 80 percent efficiency for 1 -micron particle size. The re- 



moval of gaseous pollutants is somewhat at the mercy of the best technology 
available, although nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and ozone are the chem- 
icals most often considered deleterious. In general, particulate filters are 
screens or meshes placed across an air stream to catch air-borne dirt. To 
remove gaseous contaminants, filtering materials are placed in chambers or 
trays in the path of the air. Simple activated carbon, potassium permanga- 
nate, or other catalytic and oxidizing media are used. Water washes may be 
effective but are often a maintenance problem. Maintenance is an important 
consideration in the design of any system, as the ease of checking and replac- 
ing filters is crucial to the system's efficiency. 

A serious effort should be made during design and construction to reduce and 
control the noise generated by the building and its eventual occupants. The 
very nature of museum spaces, the intensive HVAC systems, and the multi- 
plicity of functions and activities that take place in museums add up to 
potentially noisy buildings. In the absence of standards dictating decibel 
levels for galleries and other areas of museums, the client needs to address the 
problem of acoustics with the architects and engineers. In some instances, 
acoustical consultants may be sought for special situations, such as au- 
ditorium design. 

Noise can be controlled by three factors: the reduction of noise generated 
by equipment and its installation, the use of materials and construction 
methods to reduce the transmission of noise, and the use of sound isolation to 
reduce the transmission of noise from spaces where noise is unavoidable. 

The more rigid the connections of the building parts, the greater the sound 
transmission. Noise can spread through large areas of a building and is apt to 
be amplified by the "sounding-board effect." Air-borne sound can change 
direction easily and can be heard for long distances, such as through ventilat- 
ing ducts or hallways. Noise from an impact overhead will be louder than 
noise generated by machines a long distance away because the former trans- 
mits energy directly, while the latter emits waves into a much larger net- 
work. Thus control is more effective at the point of generation than at the 
point of reception. 

Room Acoustics 

When sound hits a wall or another room surface, it is variously reflected and 
absorbed, and a small amount is transmitted to adjacent rooms. Hard sur- 
faces, such as plaster walls, reflect much of the sound they receive. Ceilings 
may further echo, amphfy, and reverberate. Sound reflection and impact 


noise are typical from hard floors. Sound absorption, on the other hand, is a 
function of the porosity, density, and thickness of the material itself, as well 
as its method of installation. Thus a gallery wall covered with canvas attached 
to intermediate frames will absorb a great deal of sound. But absorption is 
greatly reduced if the porosity of the material is compromised (painting 
acoustic tile, for example). Using resilient flooring materials, floating the 
floor itself on sleepers (intermittent supports), and suspending ceilings help 
to reduce noise. In general, noise reduction is best achieved when all room 
surfaces are treated approximately equally. 

Sound isolation between rooms can often be achieved with common sense 
and careful planning and may be less costly than containing the noise disrup- 
tion by physical barriers. Rooms such as children's activity areas may gener- 
ate high voice levels to the horizontally adjoining spaces as well as impact 
noises to spaces below, so their relationship to adjacent spaces should be 
considered carefully. Restaurants are the source of a number of sounds — 
voices, clanking dishes and silverware, and kitchen noises. Physical or acous- 
tical isolation of an auditorium or a lecture room is necessary for the sake of 
both the audience and those in areas adjacent to the auditorium. One strategy 
is to look for the possibility of using quiet or unoccupied spaces, such as 
storage areas or corridors, as buffers. 

Mechanical Systems 

All the various components of mechanical systems make noise, and unfortu- 
nately they are located throughout the building: air-conditioning and air- 
handling units, fans, compressors, cooling towers, ductwork, and so on. 
Plumbing may transmit pump noise for long distances. Elevators, escalators, 
and freight elevators also add noise to a building. Generally, the more power 
something consumes, the noisier it is. 

Machine noise, both air-borne and structure-borne, is the result of vibra- 
tion. To control machine noise, vibration itself may be reduced by the design 
and configuration of the machine and its various components. The mechanical- 
equipment room can be soundproofed with the machinery mounted on re- 
silient supports. Connections (pipes, ducts) to the machinery should be flexible 
so as not to conduct vibration. 

The air turbulence within ducts creates noise and increases with velocity. 
The longer the run of the duct, the higher the required air speed. The lowest 
possible velocity is therefore desirable but may necessitate a larger duct size. 
The design and layout of the ducts, such as smooth transitions where ducts 
change size and large radius turns where there are bends, can help reduce 
noise. (Unfortunately, the larger the duct system, the more it tends to take 
up usable space.) Although ducts with runs of greater than fifty to sixty feet 
are sometimes lined to control noise, lining should not be required if the ducts 



are sized properly and fan noise is diminished. In addition, a damping mate- 
rial may be glued onto the outside of the duct to prevent the thin metal from 
resonating. The fans may also need silencers or mufflers, as the ducts will 
transmit the noise their motors produce. 

Electrical Equipment 

Transformers and fluorescent-lamp ballasts can be the source of low- 
frequency noise that is difficult to reduce. Transformers should not be located 
near or immediately outside quiet areas. They should be mounted on vibra- 
tion isolators, on as large a slab as possible. Flexible conduit connections 
should be used. Roof-mounted HVAC equipment may be economical, but 
may also be noisy due to vibration, short duct runs, and sound reflection off 
other surfaces. 

The buzz of fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamps can be annoy- 
ing, especially when such lamps are used in quiet areas such as libraries or 
offices. The effect can be particularly unpleasant when a large number of 
lamps are banked together, such as above a laylight in a gallery, and the sound 
is magnified. Solutions include installing absorptive materials in the sealed 
architectural spaces (plenums) and using resilient mounting devices and flexi- 
ble conduit. Aging ballasts should be replaced. 

Building Site and Landscape 

Outdoor noise sources, such as traffic and mechanical systems or the cooling 
towers of nearby buildings, can be an intrusion. Careful siting of a building 
might take advantage of noise barriers in the natural terrain, such as thickly 
wooded areas. A hollow or depression might be avoided. The building's 
configuration may reduce or enhance noise problems; for example, a U- 
shaped or central courtyard, while aesthetically pleasing, might form an echo 
chamber. Where exterior noise cannot be avoided, quiet areas of the building 
can be protected from exterior noise by interposing less sensitive functions 
between them and the offending source. 

It is the responsibihty of the architect and engineers to see that the building 
supports its own weight (dead load) and that of the occupants and contents 
(live load). It is incumbent on the client, however, to inform the designers if 
there are any extraordinary objects, such as heavy sculpture, that must be 
accommodated. If a piece is to be permanently installed, the floor in the 
immediate area may need to be specially supported. However, if a piece is to 
move, every point along its potential path has to be considered, as well as the 


strength and durability of the flooring material over which it will move. The 
weight of the forklift used to move it must be factored in as well. Forklifts, 
jacks, and hydraulic ladders are notorious for concentrating enormous 
amounts of weight on small wheels (high point loads). They may wreak havoc 
on floors and stress elevators, even though the stated weight capacity may be 
sufficient. If flexibility of installation is desired or many heavy pieces are 
involved, a higher load specification may be required for a large area of the 
museum. If objects are to be densely housed in storage, the load factor there 
should also be considered. 

Related to special weight concerns are those of size. Ceiling and door 
heights must be sufficient to allow for the clearance of very large paintings, 
but a very high door from a storage or loading area is essentially useless if 
somewhere between it and the gallery there is even one standard-height 
interior door. A hallway may have a high ceiling, but if it is narrow and it 
makes a turn, there may not be enough turning radius for a large painting. 
Although ceiling heights are usually stated, it is important to allow for actual 
headroom after ductwork is installed. It is therefore necessary to make sure 
that dimensions are understood to be "clear." And the determining dimen- 
sion may not be obvious — the diagonal of the door or cab of a freight elevator 
is often the operative figure. In addition, the dimensions of carts and dollies 
must always be considered. 

The electrical loads for any building include lighting, miscellaneous power 
(outlets, small motors), HVAC, plumbing, elevators, kitchen, and special 
equipment. The electrical engineer may assume loads based on industry 
charts, thereby possibly underpowering the museum (a potentially dangerous 
situation) unless its special requirements are recognized. For the engineer to 
get an accurate idea of the number and size of the circuits necessary, the kinds 
of lighting and the light levels in the galleries must be determined. Possibly 
more difficult to predict, but just as important, are the other power needs. 
Workshops often use 220 volts, and some equipment requires special wiring, 
such as charge-ups for battery-operated lifts. Dust-collection systems and 
compressors may have to be accommodated. Flexible outlet grids may also be 
desired. Exterior lighting must also not be forgotten. 

Probably the toughest task of all is to estimate future needs. One rule of 
thumb is to multiply by two all estimates of future needs. 

Depending on occupancy and building size, the building codes will indicate 
the minimum number of restrooms. However, adequate accommodations for 




staff also need to be considered, in addition to public facilities. The client must 
specify special requirements, such as darkrooms or sinks and water fountains 
in children's educational areas. Janitors' closets with slop sinks are often 
forgotten or eliminated. 

The greatest concern to the museum is the position of plumbing relative to 
collection areas. It may be desirable to require that all pipes carrying water be 
segregated in central cores and never run over exhibition, storage, or conser- 
vation areas. 


1. Royal Ontario Museum, In Search of the Black Box (Toronto: Royal Ontario Muse- 
um, 1978), p. 37. 

2. Garry Thomson, The Museum Environment, 2nd ed. (London: Butterworth, 1986), 
pp. 130-62. 



No other aspect of constructing and occupying a new museum causes as much 
consternation as the mechanical system — its design, cost, and operation. 
There are many variables concerning building character and composition, 
climate, occupancy, available technologies, and economics, all of which are 
further compounded by the functional and preservation demands of a mu- 

One of the first decisions made during schematic design is the siting of the 
building. The perimeter of the building will be most affected by the geo- 
graphical location, climate, orientation, and specific site conditions, such as 
the amount of shade or exposure to wind. The south side of a building can be 
hotter in February than its north side is in July. The amount of glazing in 
skylights and windows, and the orientation — north, east, south, or west — of 
the windows and doors will have a tremendous effect on the heat load of the 
building. Although the perimeter can be a major source of heat gain, it is only 
through the perimeter that heat is lost. The interior will also gain heat from 
lights, electrical equipment, and people. Areas characterized by different con- 
ditions can exist within the same structure. 

The wide variety of activities typical of museums places contradictory 
demands on the climate-control system. A storage area that is dark and 
virtually unoccupied, except for an occasional staff member, is a very differ- 
ent problem for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system 
than a gallery full of visitors where track lights are on all day and thus are 
generating heat. Even within one gallery, conditions change drastically be- 
tween day and night. Varying the height of ceilings will cause different 
conditions of stratification, the multiple layers of air at graduated tem- 


peratures. The rearrangement of walls or partitions in temporary galleries 
often interrupts the air-distribution systems, creating pockets or interfering 
with thermostats. Lobbies and entries may be subject to the influx of outside 
air as people move through doors. And it is often in the lobbies and other 
public, non-gallery areas where large amounts of glass are present. Further- 
more, the temperature and relative-humidity range best suited for many 
objects is not comfortable for people. 


Climate control is defined as the maintenance within prescribed limits of a 
number of atmospheric factors: temperature, relative humidity, particulates 
(including organic, such as pollen and bacteria), gaseous pollutants and odors, 
air motion and pattern, and noise and vibration. 

To meet the specifications set for temperature and relative humidity, four 
interrelated operations are necessary: heating, cooling, humidifying, and 
dehumidifying. Any system should be designed to meet the challenge of the 
unusual, if infrequent, extremes in weather, as well as the swing seasons of 
spring and fall when conditions can vary widely day to day. The design of the 
distribution system — sheet-metal ducts or sealed architectural spaces (ple- 
nums) in combination with fans, supply registers, and return grilles — deter- 
mines air-movement characteristics. Filters of various types take care of 
pollutants. Noise and vibration, the by-products of mechanical action and air 
movement, must always be countered. (Standards for each aspect of these 
systems are discussed in Appendix B.) 


There are four basic types of climate-control systems: all-air, air-water, all- 
water, and direct refrigerant. Each has certain functional and economic at- 
tributes that make it suitable for specific applications, but the all-air system, 
in one of its several variations, is most often employed in current art museum 

In an all-air system, air is the medmm of heat transfer between the central 
station (mechanical room) and the rooms or zones it serves. Beginning at the 
central station, the air is heated or cooled, humidity controlled, mixed with 
fresh air, and filtered, before it moves through the distribution system and is 
delivered to the zone by way of the supply registers. It is exhausted through 
the return grilles and sent back to the central station, where the cycle begins 
again. Although the configuration and order of events may differ, the various 
systems rely on similar components. The central station is assisted by air 


handlers, which also contain coils for additional heating and cooling. The 
humidity is increased by injecting steam or water into the moving air and is 
decreased when the air passes through a cooling coil, condensing the moisture 
out. (The resulting temperature drop is usually then countered with a reheat 
phase.) Filtering is accomplished in two ways. To catch particulates, screens 
or bags made of permeable mesh are placed in the airstream. Gaseous pollu- 
tants are removed when they pass over trays of chemicals, such as activated 
carbon or potassium permanganate. The air is delivered to the conditioned 
spaces or zones by way of sheet-metal ducts or sealed architectural spaces 
behind walls or under floors. The air enters the room through supply regis- 
ters, is exhausted through return grilles, and then returned to the central 
station, where it is usually mixed with some amount of fresh air. Automatic 
sensors in the ducts and rooms measure temperature and relative humidity 
and adjust the fans, dampers, and valves that regulate and control the system. 

Single Duct, Variable Air Volume (VAV) 

Depending on the weather and indoor conditions, the central air station 
supplies either a heated or a cooled stream of air at normal velocity. As the 
needs in a zone change, the volume of air delivered is adjusted at the terminal 
diffuser. If the central station is supplying cold air and a zone needs more 
cooling, it will receive more air. An unoccupied room having no heat gain, or 
one with a loss through a perimeter wall, will get less air. 

The VAV system works well for buildings that tend to have interior heat 
loads that require cooling. Exterior rooms in cold climates are often zoned by 
exposure. Because it relies on a single-duct system, the VAV system requires 
less space than does a system with separate cool-air and warm-air ducts. It is 
also often chosen for reasons of economy. 

Single Duct with Reheat 

Similar to the VAV in that it uses one distribution tree, this system consoli- 
dates all the major equipment at the central station, with the exception of 
small reheat coils added to the ducts near the rooms or zones. The air supplied 
by the central station must be cold enough to meet the cooling demand of the 
hottest zone. The other zones then must reheat the air to meet their needs, 
which often proves to be expensive. 

Double Duct, Constant Air Volume (CAV) 

The CAV system requires a very large, space-consuming distribution tree 
because two sets of ducts are used: one for heating and the other for cooling. 
Although at the height of the summer only the cooling component may be 



needed (and vice versa during the winter), most of the time the two air- 
streams work in tandem, being custom mixed at the air terminal in each zone. 
Control is achieved because both temperature and air volume can be adjusted. 
This is true especially for stable, reduced-load areas, such as collection- 
storage areas, where CAV is often recommended. Although the most flexible 
system because of its ability to maintain varying humidity requirements, its 
disadvantages are high installation and operating costs, as well as the consid- 
erable size of the ductwork. 

Multizone Systems 

Multizone systems deliver an individually mixed airstream to each zone 
through a central air-handling apparatus. Each zone thus requires its own 
delivery duct system, although the return system may be collective. Func- 
tions that have similar heating and cooling needs are theoretically grouped 
into separate HVAC zones. The building's configuration is thus an important 
determinant of the efficiency and cost of multizone systems. This is the least 
flexible of the four systems, and, once established, it is almost impossible to 
change without major reconstruction. 

The mechanical system, of which HVAC is a major component, can account 
for as much as 40 percent of the cost of a museum. It is vital that the client 
carefully evaluate the benefits of the various approaches as well as the corre- 
sponding price tags. The choice of the systems will have to be made on the 
basis of a number of considerations: initial and life-cycle costs (operating and 
maintenance); appropriateness for type of occupancy; amount of area re- 
quired for equipment, ducts, and so on; reliability and maintenance; accuracy 
and simplicity of control; and building codes. 

Discussions about technical issues must begin during programming. The 
museum must have not only a clear idea of what it expects the mechanical 
systems to do, but also a realistic sense of what they can do. There are 
technological limitations that may be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. 
For example, standard temperature sensors are quite accurate, while those for 
relative humidity typically are not. With that said, there are new electronic 
sensors on the market that can be used in very sensitive areas, such as prints 
and drawings storage. They may, however, be too accurate, causing the 
machinery to cycle on and off so frequently as to cause minor but nonetheless 
excessive temperature and humidity changes. 

Arrangement of spaces that make sense from a museological or functional 
point of view may prove to be at cross purposes environmentally. Over- 
complicated systems are costly not only to run, but also in terms of the space 
that they require. 




Good museum lighting is a partnership of art, science, and engineering, as it 
integrates the aesthetic and preservation needs of the collection, the form and 
character of the building, and the technical systems of the building. From the 
earliest stages of planning, even before design begins, decisions must be made 
about lighting. Proper illumination is not just a matter of equipment and 
light levels; or it goes to the heart of the museum experience. Light, being 
both sensual and emotional, is central to the perception of a work of art. The 
quality of the light in a gallery is determined not only by its source, but also 
by the character and configuration of the space, the way the light strikes the 
objects and the architecture (being variously absorbed and reflected), and the 
way it is received by the mind and eye of the viewer. 

Achieving consistent and pleasing visibility is a complex task. The amount, 
distribution, color, direction, and movement of the light contribute to vis- 
ibility. The eye goes to the brightest spot in its field. It follows, then, that 
the painting should be brighter than the wall, the picture-hanging zone of the 
wall brighter than the area above or below, and the wall brighter than the 
floor. A 3:1 ratio is enough to attract attention; a 10:1 ratio will accentuate. 


Damage from improper lighting can take many forms — fading, embrittle- 
ment, differential expansion and contraction, cracking, and drying. Such 
damage can be caused by the amount of light falling on an object, the dura- 
tion of the exposure, and the spectral components of that light. 


Visible light is a small segment on the spectrum of radiant energy, ranging 
from approximately 380 to 760 nanometers. Ultraviolet and infrared rays are 
produced by the sun and various artificial light sources but do not aid in 
visibility. They are deleterious to works of art, so they should be eliminated. 
Ultraviolet rays are responsible for most photochemical damage — that is, 
chemical change induced by light. They can be filtered at the fixture or the 
windov^ or skylight. The effect of the level of illumination and the duration of 
exposure combine to set recommended maximum levels for various materials 
depending on their sensitivity to light. 

The only way to ascertain light levels is with a light meter. The eye is not 
reliable because it perceives the light reflected off objects, not the light falling 
on them. Inexpensive meters are available that are fairly reliable, although 
they tend to be less accurate at the lower levels. The American unit of 
measurement is the footcandle. Because many of the standards for light levels 
were established in Europe, the "lux" is used there. A footcandle is the 
equivalent of approximately ten lux. When making measurements, the light 
cell of the meter must be held parallel to the surface being checked (vertically 
for a painting, horizontally for a table top.) The entire surface of an object 
should be scanned for hot spots. Measurements should also be taken through- 
out a room, as well as at different times of the day and year if natural light is 
admitted, and always after rearranging the lighting or relamping. 

Higher ratios may be dramatic but require the eye to adjust, since it tends 
to adapt to the average viewing conditions in its field. Too much brightness 
contrast causes shadows that can be overly dense and impenetrable. Too much 
light falling on a painting can obscure details. Diffuse light, which is om- 
nidirectional, fills the shadows and softens highlights. Diffuse ambient light 
gives a smooth overall wash to walls and floors. 

Just as the eye adjusts to brightness, it adapts to the color of the light and 
comes to perceive the colors of objects or surfaces as being constant. But 
changes in color, such as between cool daylight and warm incandescent, can 
be very noticeable. Color rendering is a function of the distribution and 
amount of the wavelengths present in the light, not its relative "coolness" or 
"warmness." If a color is absent in the light source, it can never be seen in the 
object, even though that color may be apparent in the object under other 

Maximum Light Levels 

In his book The Museum Environment, Garry Thomson groups categories of 
art according to their sensitivity to light and makes recommendations about 
the introduction of natural light into the gallery environment. 1 His work is 
the source of the following information on light levels and the intensity of 


Group I: Objects especially sensitive to light 

Textiles, costumes, watercolors, tapestries, prints and drawings, 
manuscripts, miniatures, distemper, gouache, dyed leather, wall- 
paper, most natural-history exhibits, botanical specimens, fur, 

Maximum illuminance: 5 footcandles (50 lux) 

Ultraviolet radiation: 75 microwatts/lumen 

Group II: Objects less sensitive to light 

Oil paintings, tempera paintings, undyed leather, horn, bone and 

ivory. Oriental lacquer 
Maximum illuminance: 20 footcandles (200 lux) 
Ultraviolet radiation: 75 microwatts/lumen 

Group III: Objects insensitive to light 

Metal, stone, glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamel 
Maximum illuminance: 30 footcandles (300 lux) 
Ultraviolet radiation: 75 microwatts/lumen 

(Although these objects can take higher levels, such illumination may pro- 
duce excessive heat. A limit of 30 footcandles may also be desirable to keep 
within the ranges of easy eye adaptability between galleries.) 

Consideration should be given to whether artificial lighting will predominate 
or whether the introduction of daylight is aesthetically and economically 
feasible. Both have planning consequences, but daylight is the more complex 

Daylight, whether bright or dim, always offers a continuous spectral curve, 
meaning that it can reveal all colors in works of art. Natural light changes 
constantly with the time of day. The involuntary muscular action of the 
pupils in the eye, constantly readjusting to these changes, helps ward off 
fatigue and keeps the viewer more alert. Buildings that admit daylight usu- 
ally also allow glimpses of the outside, which are refreshing and can aid in 

There are also disadvantages to admitting daylight into museums. In 
northern latitudes, high levels on a sunny day with fluffy clouds can easily 
reach 2,000 footcandles, but a painting inside might have an allowable limit of 
only 20 footcandles. Conversely, the gloom of a gray winter afternoon can 
pervade the galleries. Even on the dreariest days, natural light can be damag- 
ing to works of art and must be filtered and controlled. 

If daylight is desirable, a number of questions must be addressed. What are 



the implications for building orientation and site planning? How will daylight 
affect the functional program? How will it be integrated with artificial light- 
ing? How will the transitions between daylit and artificially lit spaces be 
handled? What is the impact of natural and artificial lighting on heating and 
cooling systems, and what will be the subsequent energy requirements? How 
will the subdisciplines — structural, mechanical, even landscaping — accom- 
modate the daylight? How can it be assured that all technical solutions will be 
within the environmental tolerances set for the preservation of collections? 
Finally, what function is light intended to perform within each space: provide 
ambient lighting, illuminate hanging surfaces, allow views to the exterior, act 
as a focal point, provide drama? 

Technical and Design Considerations for Daylighting 

The availability of daylight varies with latitude, season, weather, time of day, 
and local conditions, such as orientation of site, pollution, and surrounding 
features. On a clear day, light comes not only from direct sunlight but also 
from blue sky and reflections from the ground and other objects. A partially 
cloudy sky will still provide direct light, but it will change constantly. An 
overcast day provides relatively stable, uniform light. The design of a build- 
ing must respond to the predominant conditions of a particular site, while still 
providing for variations. The strategies usually employed to accomplish this 
are to design for maximum conditions allowable for collections and to screen 
out excess, or to design for minimum exterior or seasonal conditions and to 
supplement with artificial sources. 

The design response to the site conditions and goals of the daylighting 
program are seen first in the form and massing of the building. During 
design, the problem of how the apertures through walls and roofs are to relate 
to the building form is explored simultaneously with how the massing can be 
arranged to provide opportunities for light to enter. Some control will invari- 
ably be necessary to reduce or redirect light. Light-control devices can be 
exterior, interior, integral to the glass itself, or a combination of all three. 


The quality and quantity of light admitted into a building is determined not 
only by the size of openings and any filtering or shading devices, but also by 
the position of openings. Skylights provide the most abundant light relative 
to the size of the opening. They are usually considered for use in single-story 
buildings or for the top floor of multistory buildings, but they can be com- 
bined with light wells and plenums to bring light down into lower stories. 
While skylights may reduce electrical consumption by eliminating some 
of the need for artificial light, they may also either add to the heat load 
(a possible advantage in cold weather, but a clear disadvantage in the air- 


conditioning season) or lose some building heat. Whether skylights are eco- 
nomically feasible depends on a year-round climatic analysis and proper en- 
gineering, utilizing heat-transfer controls. Condensation and leaks often 
plague skylights, pointing to the need for careful installation and vigilant 

The penetration of direct sunlight into spaces containing vulnerable works 
of art is usually prevented by a system of louvers and by filtering or diffusing 
media. Because ordinary window glass absorbs only part of the ultraviolet 
rays in daylight, specially treated glass or acrylic is usually employed. 
Louvers can be designed to reduce or redirect light and may be exterior or 
interior, fixed or movable. The simplest are fixed louvers, which are most 
successful in areas with relatively constant sky conditions, but, if carefully 
engineered, they can also be satisfactory where seasonal or weather variations 
are pronounced. To meet changing conditions, elaborate systems have been 
developed for museums using photoelectric cells and computers. Objections 
have been voiced concerning their complexity and high rate of mechanical 
failure, their cost, and their tendency to be in almost constant motion, re- 
sponding to every passing cloud. Manually adjustable louvers are a compro- 
mise between the intricacies of automatic systems and the inflexibility of 
fixed louvers. They can be adjusted as necessary or set seasonally. 

Many galleries combine skylights with a flat, translucent ceiling, or 
laylight, which further reduces the amount of natural light entering the 
space. The laylight evens out the shadows cast by the louvers above it and 
helps diffuse light. It may also be designed to redirect the light. 

Artificial-lighting systems are usually integrated with laylights, often tak- 
ing the form of supplemental floodlights above or point-source lighting be- 
low. Tracks can be incorporated into the design of the laylight to provide 
spotlighting or additional wall washing. Like the skylights above them, 
laylights can be a maintenance headache because of leaks and accumulation of 
dirt, which is often distressingly visible from below. They can also be respon- 
sible for glare, as they are usually perceived as being very bright. 

There is an inherent problem with trying to illuminate pictures with natu- 
ral light from above. Without thoughtful intervention, more light will reach 
the floor than the vertical surfaces where it is needed. Louvers and diffusers 
can be used to help redirect and reduce the light, but often top-lighting is 
combined with a manipulation of ceiling and upper wall surfaces to make the 
entire room cavity act as a reflector, bouncing light off several surfaces to help 
diffuse and soften it. Coves, vaults, and coffers help to mediate between the 
brightness of the overhead source and that of the wall. The colors and mate- 
rials of interior surfaces can also help to mitigate another problem encoun- 
tered with skylights — gloom. A by-product of the reduction of light levels 
mandated by conservation concerns, gloom often afflicts top-lit galleries in 
the winter or when heavily tinted glass has been used in the skylight to 



reduce incoming light. Artificial lights may be necessary to combat the drea- 

Light monitors or lanterns, alternatives to skylights, also admit light from 
above and have the advantage of using vertical panes of glass mounted with 
standard, weatherproof window-installation methods. They are easier to 
maintain than skylights, being less likely to leak. They can be oriented to 
maximize or minimize heat gain and to admit or block sunlight. The shape of 
the monitor is often designed to bounce light around before it enters the 
space. Like skylights, monitors may be used in tandem with louvers, dif- 
fusers, and artificial sources. 


Clerestory windows have most of the advantages of skylights but are exposed 
to less light. When combined with exterior features, such as light shelves, 
clerestories can deliver abundant light deep into a room. Their efficiency is 
further increased when light is bounced off the ceiling. A direct view of the 
sky can be blocked with louvers or baffles. Because they are high on the wall, 
clerestories do not reduce the amount of hanging space. 

While windows are useful in providing a view to the exterior, they can 
produce an uncomfortable contrast between exterior brightness and the adja- 
cent interior surfaces, although deep or splayed jambs can help soften the 
contrast. A screening device is usually necessary to reduce the amount of 
entering light. This is especially true for large areas that are effectively 
"window walls." Special glass, incorporating mesh of various densities, is 
available, as are many shading materials. Conventional shutters and Venetian 
blinds can be quite effective at blocking out the glare of the sky while allowmg 
light reflected from the ground to enter. (Both must be secured in the desired 
positions, as visitors invariably adjust them.) If possible, the outside surface 
of the shading device should be treated with a reflective coating. Caution 
must be exercised to be sure that the device does not impart a color to the 
light entering the gallery. 

If windows are glazed with very dark tinted or reflective glass, brightness- 
contrast problems may result, and the advantages of daylight (the "sparkle") 
may be lost. In this case, clear glass combined with a shading device may be 
preferable. Double-paned glass, which incorporates a screening material be- 
tween the layers, is also available. Glazing materials that filter ultraviolet 
light are available for exterior and interior use. Films can be applied to 
existing windows, but they may be susceptible to condensation. 

Daylight, as the great "form-giver of architecture," is at its best illummatmg 
and enlivening to the overall museum environment. Accent lighting for 
individual objects, exhibits, and cases will probably have to be accomplished 


with artificial light. The artificial system will have to carry the full burden, of 
course, at night and in nnuseums where there is no natural light. In addition, 
electric lights of various types are used in most work areas, for security, and 
for night lights. 

Artificial light is in many ways the antithesis of daylight. It is constant and 
predictable. With a track system, it can be rearranged at will to suit a particu- 
lar need or exhibition. It is much easier to control and limit and can be 
designed to deliver even light and good visibility no matter what the time of 
day or the outside conditions. But it can also skew color, lower or heighten 
contrast, or manipulate emotional effects. As with daylight, planning goals 
must always be balanced by conservation goals. 


The mainstay for most gallery applications are tungsten lamps. They have 
good color-rendering capabilities, even at low levels, and come in a variety of 
wattages and forms, such as "Rs" (or reflector) made of seamless blown glass 
and "PARs" (parabolic aluminized reflector) made of pressed glass. Beam 
spreads vary from spots to floods. They can be controlled with dimmers to 
lower light levels, which also increases lamp life. (Choosing the appropriate 
wattage is a better method of controlling light levels than dimming, because 
the color of the beam gets redder as the lamp is dimmed.) Although incandes- 
cents do not emit a significant amount of ultraviolet rays, they do produce a 
great deal of heat and are therefore inefficient from an energy standpoint. 
Besides the thermal heat generated at the fixture, incandescents also emanate 
infrared heat, which warms the objects on which they are focused. Infrared 
can be reduced with filters. Dichroic reflector, or cool-beam, lamps, which 
direct much of the heat out the back of the fixture, can also be used where 
infrared heat may be a problem. 

Tungsten-halogen lamps are sometimes called "quartz-iodine" lamps be- 
cause the envelope surrounding the filament is made of quartz rather than 
glass. As such, a glass filter should be used to reduce ultraviolet rays. 

Low-voltage lamps do not run on line voltage, so they require a trans- 
former to step down to ^.^ or 12 volts. They produce less heat and a tighter 
beam spread, and are not as warm in color as standard R and PAR lamps. The 
larger low-voltage lamps can throw a tight beam from a long distance, so they 
are useful for high ceiling mounting. Although the lamps and fixtures are 
expensive, they are more energy efficient and are less taxing on the air- 
conditioning system, characteristics that make low-voltage lamps attractive. 


By the very nature of the way they produce visible light, fluorescent lamps 
emit large quantities of ultraviolet rays. Although low-UV tubes are avail- 


able, ordinary tubes can be filtered with UF-3 sleeves. However, they are 
prone to light leaks at the ends and must not be confused with ordinary 
(nonfiltering) industrial sleeves used to prevent mechanical damage. 

Fluorescents have limited use for display in art museums because, in addi- 
tion to conservation concerns, they produce a diffuse, flat light that tends to 
obscure details in three-dimensional objects. Although they come in a 
number of types, such as cool white and warm white, they do not have good 
color-rendering abilities. One great advantage, however, is that they do not 
produce much heat, so they are sometimes used for in-case illumination. 
Because they are inexpensive and have long lamplife, they are the most 
common light sources for offices and utility areas. 

High-Intensity Discharge Lamps 

Mercury and metal-halide lamps produce great quantities of ultraviolet rays. 
Although color-corrected versions are often used in department stores, their 
color-rendering abilities are not up to museum standards. They should be 
avoided for most museum applications. However, high-pressure sodium- 
vapor lamps produce virtually no ultraviolet rays. They are cool and efficient 
to operate. Installed in an indirect fixture — that is, one that bounces light up 
off the ceiling — they can be used economically in service areas and even in 
storage rooms where good color rendering is unnecessary. 

Track Systems and Mounting 

Unless the lighting system is integral to the ceiling system — for example, as 
part of a coffer arrangement or in recessed down-lights — tracks are com- 
monly installed to carry lighting fixtures because they provide great flexibil- 
ity. They can be mounted in almost any configuration, although overuse, 
coupled with too many fixtures, can lead to a cluttered effect. 

Energy Conservation 

The electrical load drawn by artificial lighting can be considerable and must 
be figured carefully by the electrical engineer. If primarily incandescent, the 
lights will also add substantially to the heat load of the building, probably 
requiring extra air conditioning. Although energy conservation is always a 
desirable goal, in some localities it is legally mandated. Such guidelines can 
have a considerable effect on lighting choices and on operating projections. 



Solar data are available for every part of the country. Predictions can be made 
for the behavior of light relative to its entrance into the building. For example, 


the angle of the sun on the winter solstice can be established to check how far 
into a room the sun will penetrate. The size and height of windows may then 
be adjusted to prevent light from hitting the walls. 

The use of scale models is an invaluable tool for developing concepts and 
evaluating the results when designing a daylight system. No drawing or 
calculation can equal a scale model in revealing the quality and distribution of 
light. The model need not be elaborate; it can, in fact, be quite crude, but it 
must be large enough in scale to accommodate a light meter or test probe. 
The surface textures, colors, and reflectance values should match as closely as 
possible those being contemplated. The apertures of the model should be 
glazed with proposed materials as well. 

As good as a model may be in predicting the behavior of a lighting scheme, 
there is no substitute for a full-size mock-up, which should be used if at all 
possible. Being able to stand in the light and respond to its qualities as it 
illuminates a real painting is a different order of experience from a scale- 
model prediction. The mock-up can be fine-tuned if necessary before actual 
construction begins, when any such modification would be much more costly. 

Artificial Light 

Lamp and fixture manufacturers provide photometry charts (usually found in 
the back of catalogues) that predict footcandle levels at various distances and 
angles to the wall. They are based on laboratory testing so are approxima- 
tions of real performance. Experience and some testing with a light meter will 
provide more accurate data. It is important to remember that it is the type of 
lamp itself that determines its beam characteristics, not the design or shape of 
the fixture (assuming, of course, that the fixture does not have a lens or other 
accessory). A cylinder or sphere connects the lamp equally well to the power 
source, although one might be preferred for its particular appearance. 

As important as selecting the right lamp is its placement relative to the 
object it is illuminating. As a general rule, two-dimensional works of art are 
lit at a 6o-degree (from horizontal) angle. A steeper angle will produce frame 
shadows; a lower angle, glare. The plasticity of three-dimensional objects is 
best accentuated at a 45 -degree angle. To check the placement of tracks or 
fixed-lighting positions, the distance from the wall as indicated on the draw- 
ing of the reflected ceiling plan should be plotted on the ceiling, as shown on 
the section drawing of the gallery. A protractor will then give a reading of the 
size of the angle. 


1. Garry Thomson, The Museum Environment, 2nd ed. (London: Butterworth, 1986), 
p. 23. 



Fire protection is not simply a matter of hoses and hardware; it involves 
architectural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems, as well as the 
establishment of and adherence to fire-prevention practices. Many diverse 
concerns, from the selection of the site to the choice of construction materials, 
safety practices on the job site, and staff training, contribute to the ultimate 
safety of the museum, i 


The quick and efficient detection, containment, notification, and suppression 
of a fire are the objectives of any program. A variety of approaches and 
systems can be used, but no one standard will be technically and economically 
appropriate for every collection, every building, or even every part of a given 

When designing a new museum, specifications should call for fire-resistive 
construction as opposed to noncombustible or ordinary construction-grade 
materials. Compartmentation of the building by the use of fire walls and fire 
doors substantially helps confine fires and provides safe areas of refuge for 
personnel. Smoke and hot gases rise, so special precautions must be taken to 
segregate enclosed stairwells, elevator shafts, pipe chases, ducts, and other 
vertical openings through floors. Conversely, any water used to fight a fire 
will descend, so spaces where one may expect a fire to originate should not be 
placed on the floor directly above or below highly sensitive areas. (A restau- 
rant kitchen should not be above a collection-storage area, for example.) 


Horizontally, the problem is not only the adjacency of incompatible func- 
tions, but also the ventilation system itself, a prime mover of fire and its by- 
products. Death or human injury and physical damage to the building and its 
contents often occur far from the actual site of the fire from smoke traveling 
through the ventilating system. Consequently, its layout must be carefully 
examined in the design stages. While current building codes may require 
"shut downs" on heating, ventilating, and cooling equipment and incorpora- 
tion of fire dampers within some areas of ductwork, few require automated 
smoke dampers to minimize the risk of smoke moving from one area of the 
building to another. 

Occupancy and the "combustible loading" of a space help determine the 
amount of fire protection required by current building codes. As assembly 
occupancies, museums are generally classified as light-hazard buildings; that 
is, the quantity or combustibility of the contents is assumed to be low, and 
fires with relatively low rates of heat release are expected. However, the 
reality of the modern museum is that it often houses within the same enve- 
lope many functions of widely varying susceptibility to fire. Conservation 
laboratories, loading docks, and workshops, for example, constitute extra 
hazards. The combustible loading of a collection-storage area may be very 
high. The concentration of values of irreplaceable works of art or artifacts in 
storage, holding, or preparatory areas will likely require extra precautions, 
such as rated enclosures, lighting only from enclosed fixtures, and inclusion 
of both fire-detection and fire-suppression systems. 


Because the first five minutes of a fire are more important than the next five 
hours, immediate identification of the existence of a fire and notification of 
the fire department are imperative. Manual pull stations should be provided 
in both work and public areas to sound the building evacuation alarm. Auto- 
matic fire detectors are recommended in all areas, especially in those housing 
valuable collections or hazardous operations. (These are usually installed on 
the ceiling.) Heat detectors are least expensive and least prone to nuisance or 
false alarms, but a fire may be well developed before they are triggered. 
Ionization smoke detectors, which are sensitive to the invisible products of 
combustion, are used to indicate the existence of a fire in its incipient stage, 
even before smoke or flames are visible. Photoelectric smoke detectors re- 
spond better to smoldering fires generating smoke. Smoke detectors may also 
respond to extraneous air-borne matter — such as dust, insects, and solvent 
vapors — and send a false alarm. Flame detectors, which respond to infrared 
or ultraviolet light rays, are best used where little smoke is expected to be 
generated or in large spaces where smoke may never reach the ceiling. 


Any fire-alarm system should audibly and visually notify building occu- 
pants so that emergency measures may be taken to notify the fire depart- 
ment, extinguish the fire, evacuate the building, or take other appropriate 
action. Fire-alarm systems can be designed to perform a number of func- 
tions — close fire doors, operate dampers in ventilating ducts, and shut down 
power supplies to hazardous operations, for example. Last, systems should 
not only alert a central security-control station within the museum but also 
be wired directly to the fire station or private twenty-four-hour control 
station outside the museum. 


Automatic fire-suppression systems are designed to control or extinguish 
fires while they are still small with minimal damage. They disperse a fire- 
extinguishing agent — water, gas, or chemical — chosen in relation to location, 
risk factor, and the nature of the potential combustible. Dry chemicals and 
high-expansion foams can be corrosive to some objects and leave a residue 
that is difficult to clean up. Carbon dioxide, while inert, is a threat to human 
life because of oxygen deprivation and is usually not well suited for ex- 
tinguishing ordinary combustibles. At present, water or Halon gas systems 
are usually the only appropriate choices for a museum. 


There are three basic t^.'pes of sprinkler systems: wet pipe, dry pipe, and 
preaction. They are all piping networks (usually overhead) connected to a 
reliable water source. Attached to these pipes are sprinkler heads activated 
individually by heat to release water directly onto the fire. Sprinkler heads 
may be upright, pendant, or sidewall-mounted and are equipped with either a 
fusible link or a glass bulb filled with liquid. When heated, the liquid ex- 
pands, breaking the glass, or the fusible link melts away, allowing water to 
flow through the head. Heads are available that activate at temperatures 
ranging from 135° to 650°F. Depending on the occupancy hazard classifica- 
tion, each head will cover a specified number of square feet, most likely 100 
or 140 square feet in a museum. On-off sprinkler heads automatically shut 
off the water as soon as the temperature drops to normal, thereby signifi- 
cantly reducing the potential for water damage. 

Wet-Pipe System 

The simplest, cheapest, and most reliable sprinkler system, the wet-pipe 
system is always filled with water under pressure. When a head opens, water 
is immediately dispersed onto the fire. Because of the presence of water above 


spaces containing collections and the possibility of accidently damaging a 
head, wet-pipe systems may be cause for concern in many museum installa- 
tions. However, this type of sprinkler system has an excellent safety record, 
due in part to its strict installation and testing standards. Most museums that 
have sprinkler systems utilize the wet-pipe system. 

Dry-Pipe System 

In the dry-pipe system, the pipes are filled with air under pressure rather 
than water. When a head activates, air pressure within the pipe drops and a 
valve opens, allowing water to flow into the pipe and out through the acti- 
vated head. This system is most commonly used in areas subject to freezing. 
In a dry-pipe system, there is a greater likelihood of more heads being 
activated than in a wet-pipe system, thus increasing the potential for fire- 
related and water damage. 

Preaction System 

As in the dry-pipe system, pipes in the preaction system are filled with air, 
which may or may not be pressurized, but the valve allowing water to flow 
into the pipes is activated by a separate fire-detection system. This indepen- 
dent system must be triggered first in order to open the valve and convert the 
normally dry system to a wet system. Even when the system has filled with 
water, none is released until the individual heads are activated by heat 
buildup directly under them. 

Ha Ion 

Halon 1310 is an odorless, colorless, electrically nonconductive gas that is 
extremely effective in extinguishing fires by interfering with the chemical 
process of combustion. As the gas itself poses no chemical threat to objects, 
Halon is often the fire-extinguishing system of choice where collections are 
present. However, Halon systems are expensive, and to be effective they 
require well-sealed spaces. They are, therefore, usually considered for discrete 
areas, such as vaults and small storage rooms. A concentration of only 5 to 7 
percent is necessary to stop most combustion. Below 7 percent, it is safe for 
people to remain in the area during discharge, but above a concentration of 10 
percent, it can be deadly. Halon discharge nozzles must be located carefully 
because the force with which the Halon is expelled is quite powerful and may 
blow small, light objects off shelves or damage pieces in its path. Halon, 
unfortunately, is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and is a particularly serious 
threat to the ozone layer. The United States has signed the Montreal Protocol 
on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layers, which limits future production 
of Halon to 1986 levels, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is 
requiring that Halon be phased out no later than the year 2000. Several 
replacement gases are being tested, and they may be available before Halon is 



A museum professional contemplating fire-protection systems should always 
think first of the needs of the collection. However, building codes mandated 
by law are intended to ensure that minimum levels of safety are provided for 
life safety first, property protection second, and, last, the minimum disrup- 
tion of normal business. A conflict may arise when the system that is sup- 
posed to protect irreplaceable works of art is seen as a potential threat in and 
of itself. This is pointedly true of sprinkler systems, since a loss due to water 
damage is regarded by some as being as devastating as one due to fire. 
Realistically, one must bear in mind that artworks damaged by water are 
usually salvageable; those damaged by fire never are. 

One possible strategy is to seek a compromise with building-code require- 
ments by proposing a different but equivalent means of protection. For exam- 
ple, if by alternative construction methods or building configuration, it can be 
shown that a particular design meets or exceeds the level of fire resistance and 
protection required by code, a variance may be granted. Some locales are 
more lenient than others, and museums in the past have been successful in 
appealing. However, it is also not uncommon that proposed construction 
alternatives prove to be prohibitively expensive. 

In determining whether a fire-suppression system should be installed, the 
choice must balance two sets of risks. The first is the omnipresent possibility 
of a malfunction, either from a false alarm or from poor design and work- 
manship. As mentioned earlier, the safety performance of sprinkler systems 
is excellent, virtually unequaled in the world of mechanical systems. Unfor- 
tunately, the same cannot be said for Halon, as some one-quarter of the 
museums using it have reported accidental discharges. Redundancy can help 
reduce unwarranted activation. For example, in the case of a Halon preaction 
sprinkler system, fire detection should be cross zoned. That is to say, two 
detectors on separate zones would have to go off before Halon would be 
released. If only one device malfunctioned, it could not set the release se- 
quence in motion. It goes without saying that regardless of the system 
chosen, proper installation and testing are essential. Properly installed, test- 
ed, and maintained systems should be virtually trouble free. 

The other major risk that must be evaluated is the damage that will likely 
be sustained if the fire department must fight a fire where no automatic 
system exists. A sprinkler head typically delivers 15 to 20 gallons of water a 
minute to the area of the fire; a fire hose delivers 250 gallons, with great force 
and not necessarily directly on the fire. When a fire struck the attic of the 
Franklin D. Roosevelt house in Hyde Park, New York, in 1982, far more 
damage was caused by water than by fire: to evacuate the tons of water 
poured into the structure, holes had to be chopped through the floors, inun- 
dating the lower, uninvolved stories. (The only fire where there is no water 


damage at all is one in which there is total loss due to fire.) Time is a crucial 
factor as well. By the time the fire fighters are on the scene, even if they are 
summoned directly by the detection and alarm system, extensive smoke 
damage may have occurred and the fire spread well beyond its origin. Once 
again, the first five minutes are more important than the next five hours. 

Fire risks may be reduced drastically (but never eliminated completely) by 
instituting strict policies regarding staff activities. If no heat-producing or 
electrical equipment is allowed in storage areas, save that essential for shelv- 
ing and retrieving objects, the risk of fire there is minimal. Objects stored in 
closed metal cabinets are at less risk from both fire and water than those kept 
in the open. Safety training and fire drills should be routine, as well as regular 
inspections of electrical and mechanical systems. Emergency procedures for 
evacuating people and objects should be planned and practiced. 

It is also important to consider fire-suppression systems in institutions to 
which a museum is lending works of art. While there are no consistent 
guidelines or policies among museums about the facilities of borrowing in- 
stitutions, each must be aware of the conditions in borrowing facilities and 
make determinations based on its own standards and on its own insurance 


1. The National Fire Protection Association (whose standards are the basis for most 
building fire codes) publishes Recommended Practice for the Protection of Museums and 
Museum Collections (NFPA 911), an invaluable resource explaining the potential risks 
particular to museums. It also describes the various fire-detection and -suppression sys- 
tems, suggests safety measures, and includes a sample self-inspection form. Other guide- 
lines of interest to museums are Protection of Libraries and Library Collections (NFPA 
910), Protection of Historic Structures and Sites (NFPA 913), and Fire Protection in Re- 
habilitation of Historic Buildings (NFPA 914). These publications are available from the 
National Fire Protection Association, Batterymarch Park, Quincy, Mass., 06669-9101; 
(800) 344-3555- 




Security implies safeguarding and protecting the collections, building, con- 
tents, property, staff, and visitors from theft, vandalism, safety hazards, fire 
(see Appendix E), and environmental hazards (see Appendix B). 

A museum embarking on a building project must look carefully at its 
security needs and how the proposed project will affect them, in terms of both 
the design of the new building and its future operation. As with all technical 
issues, security must be addressed in the programming phase. Thinking of 
security as an "overlay" to design development or construction documents is 
a mistake that can prove to be expensive, even disastrous. Retrofits after 
occupancy are costly and never work as well as a properly integrated system, 
and more than one museum has had to increase its guard force substantially 
to make up for poor gallery layouts and ill-designed electronic systems. In 
addition, the museum must plan to maintain security during demolition and 
construction, when fire losses are most likely to occur, and during the move 
to a new facility, when artwork and equipment will be vulnerable to a number 
of threats. 


Anticipated activities, public functions, occupancy schedules for the new 
building, and the "new way of doing business" must be identified because 
they all have a major impact on every aspect of design relating to security and 
life safety. The museum planners and staff as a whole should be aware that 
virtually every decision and choice will have some effect on the overall safety 


of the building and its occupants and the continued operation of the institu- 
tion. These include the choice of site and whether there is an adequate water 
supply for fire fighting, as well as the risks posed by geography and climate, 
such as earthquakes, fire, floods, landslides, tornados, and hurricanes, which 
may require special architectural responses. They also include the configura- 
tion of the building, which may be more or less vulnerable depending on its 
size and the number of openings on its perimeter. The interior layout will 
further determine the ease of surveillance: obscured sight lines may necessi- 
tate a larger guard force. The nature of adjacent structures must also be taken 
into account; for example, they cannot interfere with the museum's elec- 
tronic equipment. 

Operating modes and occupancy schedules of the staff, guard force, and 
public vary in the life of a museum, as does its reliance on electronic sur- 
veillance systems or security personnel. There is a direct relationship between 
operating modes and security needs, which, in turn, has implications for the 
arrangement of spaces in the building. The use of each space must be evalu- 
ated according to possible operating schedules: occupancy by staff and se- 
curity personnel on a workday when the facility is closed to visitors; occu- 
pancy by staff, security, and the public; occupancy by security and the public 
on holidays and weekends with occasional staff present; and occupancy by 
security staff at night. Spaces with similar operational characteristics may 
best be grouped in one area of the building. A lecture room or an auditorium 
used after regular hours, for example, is probably best located near the 
perimeter. Rest rooms should be adjacent to it so the public does not need to 
travel through galleries to reach them, thereby requiring additional guards. 

As plans are being developed by the architect, staff members and appropri- 
ate users should take imaginary walks through proposed spaces to help identi- 
fy security lapses or problems. Especially sensitive activities, such as receiv- 
ing and unpacking shipments for temporary exhibitions, should also be 
rehearsed. Any problems, such as obstructed views of the loading dock from 
the security station window, can be addressed in the design-development 
stage, before major design decisions have been made. 

Regrettable though it may be, it is reasonable to assume that a museum will 
suffer some sort of vandalism, theft, accidental damage, extortion or ransom, 
fire, natural disaster, or crime against persons at some time during its exis- 
tence. In order to best concentrate its security efforts and financial resources, 
the museum must first ascertain which events are most likely to occur and 
which could be associated with the greatest possible losses. Also, each space 
and activity must be evaluated relative to identified risks, and any risk assess- 



ment must take into account the specialized nature of various collections. 
Factors such as probability of occurrence and the relative impact on the 
facility can be charted, and a list of priorities can then be established. 

Identifying Threats 

The first step is to list all the dangers to which the museum might be 
exposed. Categories might be natural hazards, (rainstorm, hurricane, tor- 
nado, lightning, blizzard, flash flood, earthquake, volcano, forest or range 
fire), physical malfunctions or mechanical failures (structural failure, explo- 
sion, air-conditioning failure, heating failure, water-supply failure, sprinkler- 
system malfunction, smoke generation or air pollution, leaks in roofs, win- 
dows, or doors), accidents (vehicular, machinery, injury to staff or visitors, 
damage to objects during transport, installation, or construction), violence 
(riot, civil disorder, insurrection and war, bombing, terrorist attack, robbery, 
theft, defacement, destruction of an object, disorderly conduct), and non- 
violent crime (larceny, burglary, embezzlement, forgery, shoplifting, van- 
dalism, graffiti, trespassing, pickpocketing). 


Assessing the likelihood of a future event depends in part on whether it has 

occurred in the past and the likelihood of its recurring in the future. There is 

no guarantee that because an event has occurred, it will be repeated, or if it 

has not happened to date that it will not in the future. Most important, the 

more ways in which an event can happen, the more likely it is ultimately to 


Categories of probability should then be ranked and given a numerical 

Virtually certain 


Highly likely 


Moderately likely 




Highly unlikely 



The impact of a loss on operations depends on the museum's size, collections, 
staff, physical plant, financial status, and the like. An assessment of how 
critical the loss is can begin by determining its monetary value due to damage 
or destruction of property and its repair or replacement. Another index is the 
disruption an event would cause, from mild disruption to total curtailment of 
activities. However, intangibles such as loss of irreplaceable cultural patrimo- 
ny and the ancillary effect on future visitation, staff morale, and public 
opinion should also be considered. 


Disastrous 100% 

Very serious 75~99°/o 

Moderately serious 50-74% 

Tolerable 20-49% 

No effect or only minor 0-19% 

Once the system has been established for ranking probability and impact, 
the relative hazards can be illustrated in chart form, rated, and ranked. 

Potential event Risk % Impact % Rating 

Leaky pipe 

Highly likely 








Very serious 






Very serious 




Highly likely 


Minor effect 



The hypothetical example given in the chart indicates that fire and leaky 
pipes, while less devastating than an earthquake, probably pose the greater 
overall threat and therefore deserve more attention and resources in the 
security plan.i 


Building Codes 

The size of a building and its occupancy classification, as well as its type of 
construction and whether it is to have a sprinkler system, will dictate the 
number of exits the local code and building officials will require. The number 
of exits, corridor widths and lengths, bearing capacity of walls and floors, 
mechanical requirements for electricity and plumbing, and so on are under 
code jurisdictions. While the codes are written to protect life and property, 
some of the specific requirements, such as the number and placement of exits, 
may work against securing a collection. A thorough analysis of local building 
codes should be undertaken during the preliminary design stage with refer- 
ence to the functional program, future occupancies, and public programs. 
Plans should be evaluated at every stage to make sure they continue to 
comply with current codes. 

Handicapped Accessibility and Amenities 
For a full discussion of this topic, see Appendix A. 

Security During Construction 

Construction and renovation present great security dangers. Maintaining 
security during work can be a nightmare. Disruption and inconvenience are 


daily events and may continue for months. Normal services, such as elec- 
tricity and water, are often interrupted, disarming existing security systems. 
As work proceeds, collections in proximity to the work may be threatened by 
vibration, dust, and fumes and may have to be moved out of harm's way. The 
presence of construction workers and the nature of their work make it imper- 
ative that the museum require certain safety measures and set specific inter- 
im security policies and procedures. 


1. For more on this method of analysis, see ]. L. Paulhus, "Planning for Safety and 
Security," in Planning Our Museums, ed. Barry Lord and Gail Dexter Lord (Ottawa: 
National Museums of Canada, 1983). 





That cumbersome roll of drawings tucked under the arm of the architect or 
laid out across a sawhorse on the construction site can have a daunting effect 
on the cHent. The final set of drawings for a given project — actually a part of 
the contract documents — provides a collection of interrelated views and de- 
scriptions, both graphic and verbal, that represent in a very condensed and 
abstract form the future physical reality of a building. Produced during 
months of work, drawings are the key to the final results of a project. 
Everyone involved in the project must therefore understand them. 

During the schematic-design phase, architects and designers use prelimi- 
nary drawings, simple models, or renderings to study design problems and to 
communicate their ideas to the client in design presentations. Some represen- 
tations are simple, even crude, while others are very detailed and polished. A 
simple white-cardboard model is often a great help to the client in visualiz- 
ing spaces, but a more elaborate, larger model with color and realistic finishes 
is a powerful tool for public and fund-raising presentations, as are formal 
presentation drawings, such as a rendered and colored perspective of the 

After the basic design ideas have been approved, the project moves into the 
design-development stage, where the defining elements, the spaces, the ma- 
terials, and the systems — structural, mechanical, and electrical — are pre- 
cisely established. Rooms become rooms, and dimensions are fixed; spatial 
relationships are settled. Issues raised during the previous stage are re- 
solved — the use of daylight, the level of finish, the proportions of public or 
programmatic areas to support, and the like. 



To participate meaningfully in the design and approval process and to com- 
municate with the architect and contractor, it is imperative that the client 
understand drawings. Unfortunately, the language of architectural drawings 
is not purely visual, but conventional and specific to the building disciplines. 
Except for differences in style, drawings are executed in a relatively consistent 
way throughout the architectural profession. Classes in reading architectural 
drawings and in construction methods are available at community colleges 
and technical schools. Some museums have held their own classes, led by an 
architect or another design professional, for the board and staff. Particularly 
useful are tours of an existing building with plans in hand. The actual forms 
can then be compared with their two-dimensional representations. 

The most familiar and basic representation is the floor plan — a horizontal 
slice of each story of the building that shows the arrangement of rooms, 
exterior and interior walls, and door and window openings. Although it can 
be taken anywhere, the cut is typically assumed to be about four feet off the 
floor so that it shows most of the significant features. The floor plan might 
also indicate items such as furniture, exhibition cases, and equipment. The 
complement to the floor plan is the section, a vertical slice showing the 
relationship of parts that stand side by side or one above the other. In a 
simple building, two sections — one through the longest dimension, the longi- 
tudinal section, and a transverse section — may be enough. For a building as 
complex as a museum, however, a number of sections will be necessary, and 
they will be taken wherever a special condition needs to be illustrated. 

The actual character of the surfaces cut through in the plans and sections is 
described in elevations. Exterior elevations — at least one for each face of the 
building — give information about the massing, composition, height, and ma- 
terials of the facades. Similarly, interior elevations show detailing of the walls 
and significant information such as the size and shape of doors and windows, 
which could only be suggested as an opening on the plans. Elevations often 
look distorted because they are not intended to be what the eye sees (that 
would, of course, be the perspective view, with its converging lines). They are 
flat projections with all planes pulled up to the front plane, which is assumed 
to be parallel to the paper and perpendicular to the viewer's line of sight. All 
surfaces not parallel to the drawing surface appear to be foreshortened; those 
that are parallel are true to size, shape, and proportion. 

The way in which elements are represented in drawings is relatively stan- 
dard. Basically, there is a hierarchy of lines combined with a set of symbols 
that may be self-explanatory or arbitrary, in which case they simply must be 
learned. Generally speaking, the heavier the line, the more dominant the 
feature. On a plan or section, for example, exterior walls will be heavy, thick 
lines; interior walls, thinner and lighter ones. Dashed lines represent ele- 


merits that are not physically present where the cut is taken but that are 
significant, such as balconies or skylights. Other line styles, hatchings, or 
patterns are used to delineate different materials. In addition to those repre- 
senting physical features, more lines, usually the thinnest and lightest of all, 
are used to give information, such as dimensions, or to indicate column grids. 

The symbols that appear on drawings may be used to help lead the viewer 
to further information about a particular spot, or simply as a shorthand 
device. For example, circles or octagons with numbers appearing on floor 
plans usually refer to enlarged details or notes found elsewhere. The tri- 
angular symbols at either end of a line running across a floor plan refer to a 
particular section and, as important, point in the direction of whichever of the 
two possible views is intended. The arrow pointing up or down on a stairway 
indicates the direction from the level of that particular floor plan. In other 
instances, rather than laboriously drawing every interior elevation of every 
room, generic items such as switches and outlets will be shown as symbols on 
a plan (in this case, the electrical plan), possibly with notes indicating such 
information as height from the floor. Unfortunately for the client, each of 
the subdisciplines, such as electrical and plumbing, also has its own set of 
symbols and shorthand devices, but a key to such symbols is almost always 

The client must also understand the way a set of drawings is organized and 
how individual drawings interrelate. Usually the first drawing is a site plan, 
giving geographical and topographical information. The exact location of the 
building and how it is oriented relative to natural features and existing ele- 
ments, such as roads and utilities, have implications for construction and legal 
issues, such as property boundaries, easements, and zoning. The drawing also 
illustrates the approach and entry sequences — the beginning of the museum 
experience for the visitors. Although much of what is shown on site plans is 
technical, the general aspects of the landscape may be indicated. The location 
of trees may be noted, and the shape of the terrain is illustrated by contour 
curves (the closer the lines, the steeper the slope). Although a wealth of 
information is contained on a site plan, the scale is usually rather small, as its 
purpose is to set the building in a larger context. 

Following the site drawings are the architectural or design drawings, which 
explain the characteristics of the building — its size and shape, materials, 
finishes, and details represented and explained through plans, elevations, 
sections, details, and schedules (charts that list all the door sizes, wall 
finishes, or lighting fixtures, for example). Construction drawings, such as 
foundation and framing plans, show how things are to be put together. 
Engineering drawings by structural, mechanical, and electrical consultants 
delineate how all the building subsystems will be integrated. Drawings by 
other consultants dealing with issues such as lighting, security, and exhibi- 
tion design will usually also be included in the master set. 


Because no one drawing can give the full story of a particular detail or 
quality, different aspects may be explained on different sheets (sometimes 
coming from different specialists or consultants). For example, to determine 
the height of a doorway shown on a floor plan, the appropriate elevation or 
section must be found. If the opening is to have a door, the door schedule 
should list its dimensions and the type of design that has been specified. 
Checking for water pipes that run over exhibition or storage areas can be 
knotty, as plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) 
plans are often shown not as flat plans, but as very schematic, three-dimen- 
sional diagrams so that runs and drops can be shown simultaneously. To 
understand the lighting system in the galleries, the lighting designer's re- 
flected ceiling plan ("reflected" because it is a mirror image and therefore has 
the same orientation as the floor plan below) should be checked. But the 
location of the switch panel will probably be shown on the electrical plan, and 
the number and size of the circuits may be listed elsewhere on the panelboard 
schedule. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to understanding the drawings 
and no substitute for carefully studying them, reading the notes and sched- 
ules, and cross-referencing through the various sheets, cumbersome as this 
effort might be at times. If something is not clear, ask the project manager, 
architect, or engineer to explain it. The language of the drawings is a coded 
language that must be learned and practiced. 

Visualizing the Building 

The real challenge for the client is to visualize from the abstract lines and 
shapes on the drawings how the actual spaces and forms will look, how the 
spaces will relate to one another, and how big they will be. The scale of 
representation will always be indicated somewhere on the drawing, if only in 
the title block, when everything on a particular sheet is consistent. The 
greater the complexity, size, and need for clarity, the larger the scale. The 
scale of floor plans is often 1/8 inch = 1 foot or 1/4 inch = 1 foot, with details 
at a larger scale. Related drawings may or may not be at the same scale: an 
elevation may be shown at 1/8 inch = 1 foot, but the related floor plans and 
sections might be at 1/4 inch = 1 foot and 3/8 inch = 1 foot, respectively. It is 
not necessary to have an architect's scale to determine dimensions. A desk 
ruler or tape measure will do. For example, a distance that measures 4 3/4- 
inch long at 1/8 inch = 1 foot would be 38 feet. If the scale is indicated 
graphically by a bar graph similar to a scale of miles found on a road map, a 
quick tracing on a piece of scratch paper can make a handy measuring device. 
Envisioning how big a physical space is from numerical dimensions is not 
always easy. By measuring or pacing off familiar spaces — an office or a 
gallery — mental modules can be formed that can be the basis for evaluating 
proposed spaces. Even better, if plans for existing spaces are available, study- 


ing the correspondence between the plan and the actual space will help devel- 
op a sense of the representation of size and scale. The height of known spaces 
should be ascertained as well, because the feeling of size is related to volume, 
not just horizontal extension. A large room will always feel smaller if it has a 
low ceiling, and, conversely, a small room will feel less constricted if it has a 
high ceiling. 

A floor plan itself can be confusing because what is shown horizontally is 
actually an opaque vertical surface and because the observer looking down on 
the drawing can see spaces and elements simultaneously that would never be 
revealed except by physically moving sequentially through the spaces. There- 
fore, a mental walk-through of a plan must be done with great self-discipline. 
The mind's eye must be made to stop at walls and only be allowed to see 
through intended openings. Index cards held upright in the position of the 
walls can help suggest the feeling of enclosure. As important as enclosure is 
the vista, especially in gallery and circulation areas. The mental walk- 
through should include a notation of what is seen at the end of each vista, 
such as another opening, or a specific area of a wall. 

The size and configuration of spaces must be related realistically to the size 
of the objects in the collection. To ensure that passageways will be wide 
enough and turning radii sufficient to accommodate large art objects, simple 
paper models of the footprint of these works cut to the same scale as the plan 
can be moved across the drawing from loading dock to gallery to storage. 
Similarly, profile paper models can be used to check heights on elevations and 

After all, nothing can take the place of a three-dimensional representation 
(save, perhaps, the full-scale mock-up), and models are therefore strongly 
recommended. Although presentation models are very expensive, less elab- 
orate study models made of mat board or foam core can be perfectly effective 
and easily modified. At a scale of 1/2 inch = 1 foot, a model will be large 
enough to accommodate scale objects, perhaps made of paper or modeling 
clay (and little model people to help give a further sense of scale). What may 
have been unclear or overlooked in two dimensions may suddenly become 
apparent in three. But, as with floor plans, there is a tendency to look down 
into a model and see the horizontal plane (that is, the floor) instead of the 
walls. Removable walls can permit an eye-level view, as can a simple peri- 
scope made of a cardboard tube and hand mirrors. (A device called a Model- 
scope is available from art and drafting supply stores that can be attached to a 
camera.) For a client unsure about how building spaces will look, work, and 
feel, having a model is a wise investment, and if natural light is to be 



admitted into the building, a professional daylight model is virtually indis- 
pensable. Made at a sufficiently large scale (3/4 inch = 1 foot), light-meter 
readings can be made and interpolated to predict actual light levels. Models 
are also enormously helpful in determining color, materials and surfaces, and 
level of finish. 


When the form of the building is approved, the architect produces construc- 
tion drawings to show how the elements are to be built. They are often very 
technical and difficult for the layperson to understand, but along with a 
written compendium of specifications, they are part of the legal agreement 
with the contractor and subcontractors delineating exactly what will be con- 
structed. They must be checked relentlessly by the client (usually at points of 
40, 70, and 100 percent completion) to ensure that the building conforms to 
what was approved at the earlier stages of schematic and design development. 
Dimensions are apt to change as mechanical systems are fit into the envelope. 
(Ductwork always seems to take its toll.) Continuing code reviews and even 
changes in codes may require modifications that have a serious impact on the 

Coordination of the drawings and specifications provided by the various 
specialists and consultants is extremely important, and someone representing 
the client (usually the project director) must take the responsibility for that 
task. Ultimately, oversights and mistakes in the working drawings will result 
in expensive change orders for the client. 

One final set of drawings, not always seen by the client, is composed of 
shop drawings. They are not made by the architect but are submitted to the 
contractor and architect by the subcontractors and suppliers. They propose 
how the actual components will meet the architect's design requirements and 
specifications. In addition, material samples and sometimes full-scale mock- 
ups will be required for inspection before final approval is given. 

At the beginning, with program in hand, the design process should open up 
as many options as possible. Many proposals may be considered before the 
optimal solution is found. But as the process moves forward, decisions of an 
increasingly specific nature have to be made. The ease with which the client 
can move through the various stages depends to a large extent on how well it 
understands what at first may seem like an alien world of strange marks, 
unfamiliar jargon, and indecipherable drawings. The more unknowns that 
can be eliminated from the process, the more smoothly it will proceed. Sur- 
prise may be the spice of hfe, but not when opening day is fast approaching, 
and no one knows quite what the gallery walls will look like, or if the 
centerpiece of the collection will fit through the doors of the loading dock. 





Listed below are the twenty-one institutions that participated in a survey 
conducted by Liza Broudy between December 1988 and June 1989. The inter- 
views took place either by telephone or through a site visit. All survey 
participants were sent a survey questionnaire before they were interviewed. 
Different questionnaires were prepared, in consultation with the Advisory 
Committee: for trustees and staff, for the architects, and for contractors and 
consultants. The objective of the survey was to identify key issues and prob- 
lems encountered during the planning and building process and to understand 
these issues from the points of view of the various participants. Information 
gathered from the survey has been incorporated into the introduction, text, 
and appendixes. 

We are immensely grateful to the institutions and individuals who so 
generously shared with us their experiences. The candor and thoughtfulness 
with which they responded to our many questions and requests represented 
not only a significant commitment in time but also a significant contribution 
to the museum field. 

The individuals interviewed are identified below by the title they held at 
the time the interview took place. If they were no longer at the survey 
institution at the time of the interview, they are identified both by their title 
during that museum's project and by the position held at the time of the 

Chicago, Illinois 

Renovation of West Wing 1987 
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 


Construction of new addition 1988 

Architect: Hammond, Beeby and Babka, Architects, Inc. 

James H. Wood, Director 

Katharine C. Lee, Assistant Director 

Calvert Audrain, Assistant Vice President for Operations 

Milo Naeve, Curator of American Arts 

Lynn Springer Roberts, Curator, European Decorative Arts and 

Michael TurnbuU, Staff Architect 
Thomas H. Beeby, Architect 

Princeton, New Jersey 

Renovation of existing building and construction of new addition 1988 
Architect: Mitchell/Giurgola Architects New York 

Allen Rosenbaum, Director 

Bruce Thompson, Mitchell/Giurgola Architects New York 

Boise, Idaho 

Renovation of existing building and construction of new addition 1988 
Architect: Mark Mack/Trout Young 

Dennis O'Leary, Director 

Patrick McMurray, President, Board of Trustees 

Ray Hoobing, Contractor 

Mark Mack, Architect 

Steven Trout, Architect 

Brooklyn, New York 

Architect: Arata Isozaki & Associates/James Stewart Polshek and 

Joan Darragh, Vice Director for Planning 

Claudine Brown, Assistant for Government and Community Relations 

Linda S. Ferber, Chief Curator and Curator of American Paintings and 

Daniel Weidmann, Vice Director for Operations 

Norfolk, Virginia 

Renovation of existing building and construction of new addition 1988 
Architect: Hartman-Cox Architects 

David Steadman, Director 


Dallas, Texas 

New building 1984 

Architect: Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates 

Harry S. Parker, Former Director* 

Steven A. Nash, Former Chief Curator+ 

Anne R. Bromberg, Curator of Education 

Barney Delabano, Curator of Exhibitions 

Vincent Carozza, President, Board of Trustees 

Bill Austin, Contractor, J. W. Bateson & Company 

Atlanta, Georgia 

Renovation 1985 

Architect: Michael Graves, Architect 

Maxwell L. Anderson, Director 

Clark Poling, Former Director and Professor of Art History, Emory 

John Howett, Professor and former Chairman, Art History Department, 

Emory University 
Monique Seefried, Consultant Curator of Archaeology 
Lori S. Iliff, Coordinator of Operations/Registrar 
Karen Nichols, Michael Graves, Architect 

Atlanta, Georgia 

New building 1983 

Architect: Richard Meier & Partners 

Gudmund Vigtel, Director 

Peter P. Morrin, Former Curator of Twentieth-Century Art* 

Albert |. Bows, Chairman, Building Committee and Board of Trustees 

Lawrence Gellerstedt III, General Contractor 


}. Paul Getty Museum 

Malibu and Los Angeles, California 

New building 

Architect: Richard Meier & Partners 

Stephen Roundtree, Director of Getty Trust Building Program 

'Director, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 

^Associate Director and Chief Curator, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 

*Director, J. B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky 


Bret Waller, Associate Director for Education and Public Affairs 
Deborah Gribbon, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs 

Austin, Texas 

New building Not built 

Architect: Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown 

Laurence D. Miller, Director 

Sharon E. Greenhill, Director of Planning 

Annette Carlozzi, Former Curator* 

Sylvia Stevens, Museum Education Coordinator 

Peter Mears, Preparator 

Houston, Texas 

New building 1987 

Architect: Renzo Piano, Atelier Piano/ Richard Fitzgerald & Associates 

Paul Winkler, Assistant Director 
Renzo Piano, Architect 

Montgomery, Alabama 

New building 1988 

Architect: Barganier McKee Sims Architects Associated 

J. Brooks Joyner, Director 

Grace M. Hanchrow, Assistant Director of Development 

Margaret Lynn Ausfield, Curator 

Tara Sartorius, Curator of Education 

James Sigler, New Building Committee-City Administrator 

Kenneth Bryan, Architect 

Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

New building 1985 

Architect: Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates 

George S. Bolge, Director 

Los Angeles, California 

New building 1986 

Architect: Arata Isozaki & Associates 

'Director, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado 


Richard Koshalek, Director 

Sherri Geldin, Associate Director 

Julia Brown Turrell, Former Curator* 

Randall O. Murphy, Acting Manager of Facilities and Operations 

Frederick M. Nicholas, Chairman, Building Committee 

New York, New York 

Renovation of existing building and construction of new addition 1984 
Architect: Cesar Pelli & Associates 

Richard E. Oldenburg, Director 

James S. Snyder, Deputy Director for Planning 

Riva Castleman, Director, Prints and Illustrated Books, and Deputy 

Director for Curatorial Affairs 
Eloise Ricciardelli, Director of Registration 
Jerry Neuner, Exhibition Production Manager 
Richard Jansen, Consulting Staff Architect 
Donald B. Marron, President, Board of Trustees 

Newark, New Jersey 

Renovation of existing buildings and construction of new 

addition 1989 
Architect: Michael Graves, Architect 

Samuel C. Miller, Director 

Mary Sue Sweeney, Assistant Director 

Gary A. Reynolds, Curator of Painting and Sculpture 

Valrae Reynolds, Curator of Oriental Art 

David Palmer, Exhibits Coordinator 

Karen Nichols, Michael Graves, Architect 

Newport Beach, California 

New building Project will not be realized 
Architect: Renzo Piano, Atelier Piano 

Kevin Consey, Director 
Renzo Piano, Architect 

Salem, Massachusetts 

New addition 1988 

Architect: Kallmann McKinnell & Wood, Architects, Inc. 

*Dirertor, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa 


Peter Fetchko, Director 

Fiske Crowel, Project Architect 

Lakeland, Florida 

New building 1988 

Architect: Straughn Furr Associates, Architects 

Ken Rollins, Director 

Earnest A. Straughn, Arcnitect 

ARTHUR M. SACKLER MUSEUM, Harvard University Art Museums 
Cambridge, Massachusetts 

New building 1985 

Architect: James Stirling Michael Wilford and Associates, Chartered 

Elizabeth Buckley, Former Capital Projects Manager 
Suzannah Fabing, Former Deputy Director, Harvard University Art 

Santa Clara, California 

Renovation of existing building and construction of new addition 1987 
Architect: Wayne Barcelon, Darlene Jang 

Bill Atkins, Director 

Orlando T. Maione, Member, Board of Trustees 

Wayne Barcelon, Architect 

Darlene Jang, Architect 

Richmond, Virginia 

New addition 1987 

Architect: Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates 

Paul N. Perrot, Director 

Stephen G. Brown, Deputy Director 

Richard B. Woodward, Director of Art Services 



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Page numbers in italics refer to illustrations. 

Accent lighting, 268 
Accessibility, 239-48 

in construction documents, 161 

for disabled, 239-48 

program evaluation for, 245 

schematics, 158 

universal design in, 243-45 
Accountability, 189 
The Ackland Art Museum (Chapel Hill, N.C.' 

renovation of galleries, 235 
Acoustics, 254-56 
Adaptive reuse, 23 

at Brooklyn Museum, 273-74 

at William Benton Museum of Art, 110 
Addenda, 180, 194 
Adjacencies, 157-58 
Administrative areas, 76-77 
Admissions, 72 
Aged, 242 
Air quality, 253-54 
Air-water climate control, 260-61 
All-air climate control, 260-61 
All-water climate control, 260 
American Institute of Architects, 121 
American National Standards Institute's 

A117.1, 243 
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), 43, 

239, 243 
Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility 

Guidelines, 243 

and change orders, 189 

committee for selection of, 100-101 

competition for, 118-19 

in contract negotiations, 120-26 

fee of, 124-25 

handpicking of, 115-16 

interview of, 119 

selection of, 99-119 

staff participation in selection of, 100 

team of, 141 
Architect-client relationship, 14, 111 
Architectural Barriers Act (1968), 242 
Architectural competitions, 118-19 
Architectural drawings, 283-88 

of Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 62 

of Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 

of Laguna Gloria Art Museum, 162 

of Metropolitan Museum of Art, 24 

ownership of, 135-36 

of Peabody Museum, 130 

of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 

of Seattle Art Museum, 272 

of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 132 

and visualization of building, 286-87 
Architectural feasibility, 53 
Architectural program 

in "brief of ideas," 16-17 

drafting of, 89-91 

forms of, 57, 67 

for non-art space, 72-74, 76-78 

for nonpublic space, 74-78 

in planning process, 33 

preparation of, 68-70 

for public space, 71-74, 147 

qualitative component of, 67 


Architectural feasibility [continued) 

quantitative aspects of, 16, 67 

responsibility for, 68-70 

review of, 146-50 

and selection of architect, 102-4 

technical component of, 67 

three essential components of, 67-68 
Archives, 76 
The Art Institute of Chicago 

Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building, 108 

European paintings gallery, 107 
The Art Museum, Princeton University 
(Princeton, N.J.) 

David H. McAlpin Study Center, 88 

Marquand-Mather Court, 222-23 
Art storage, 75-76 

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian 
Institution (Washington, D.C.), Entry 
Pavilion, 64-65 
Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard 

University (Cambridge, Mass.), 62-63 
Artificial light, 268-71 

in architectural-program review, 147 

during moving-in phase, 225-26 

nonpublic-space planning for, 79, 81 

storage of, 75-76 
Asbestos, 163-64 
Attic stock, 204 

in architectural program, 73 

at Brooklyn Museum, 168-69 

at Newark Museum, 86 

at University Art Museum, 86 

Basic services, and architect, 125 

Beaux-Arts tradition, 58 

Bid documents, 160-61 

Bidding process, 185-87 

Billy Johnson Auditorium, Newark Museum, 

The Bishop Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii), 

conservation lab, 90 
"Blockbuster" exhibitions, 126 
Board review committee 

cost management of, 200-201 

in design phase, 139 

progress reports of, 200-201 

in project-completion phase, 214 

site visits by, 201 
Bonding, 185 

Brightness-contrast problems, 268 
The Brooklyn Museum, 7 

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 

master plan competition at, 118 

transformation of Renaissance Hall to art- 
storage area, 173-74 
Budgets, 150-54, 177-79. See also Cost 
estimates; Costs 

board review of, 200-201 

and changes, 197-98 

contingency allocation, 178, 181 

and first project budget, 92-94 

hard and soft costs in, 150-54 

in job-review process, 189 

and management reserve, 178 

as milestone decisions, 15—16 

operation cost projections, 154, 158 

progress reports, 200-201 

and project completion, 213 
Builder's risk insurance, 183 
Building codes 

and accessibility, 243 

security and safety issues in, 281 
Bulletins, 180, 194-95 
Buying out the job, 185-87 

Ceiling, height of, 257 

Center for Creative Photography (Tucson, 

Ariz.), principal facade, 12 
Center for the Visual Arts, Ohio State 
University (Columbus, Ohio), 118 
Ceremonial opening date, 212 
Certificate of occupancy, 220 
Change orders 

in construction phase, 195 

in job-review process, 189, 197 
Changes, 197-200 

after moving in, 232 

and budgets, 197-98 

staff reactions to, 199-200 
Checklist, 158 
Chinese Export Decorative Arts Gallery, 

Peabody Museum, 102 
The Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, Va.), 

courtyard, 128-29 
Circulation system, test running, 227 
Classrooms. See Educational facilities 
Cleaning, 221 
Clerestory windows, 268 
Clerk of the works, 177, 195 
The Cleveland Museum of Art, south facade, 58 
Client-architect relationship, 14, 111 
Climate control, 149-50, 220-21, 259-62 

decision making about, 262 

definition of, 260 
Coat checking 

in architectural program, 72 

test running of, 227 
Codes, 242-43 

gallery-space planning, 74 

management of, 76 

moving in, 225-26 

in resource analysis, 38-39 

schematics, 157-58 
"Combustible loading," 273 
Committees, 138 
Community board, 41-42 


Community issues, 29, 111, 114 

and mission statement, 35-36 

in review process, 201-2 
Competition, architectural, 118-19 
Competitive bidding, 186 
Completion stage, 203-5, 211 

and change, 232 

and cost constraints, 213 

monitoring of, 230 

psychological reactions to, 232-33 

quality standards, 212-13 

schedule of, 211-12 
Conservation laboratories 

in architectural program, 75 

at Bishop Museum, 90 

at Indianapolis Museum of Art, 91 
Constant air-volume system, 261-62 
Constituencies, 41 
Construction. See also Construction costs 

integrated contracts, 125-26 

schedule of, 180-82 

and security, 281-82 

supervision of, 176 
Construction contingency, 178 
Construction costs. See also Contracts 

as budget issue, 150-54 

estimation of, 93-94 

and fast tracking, 182 

and mobilization, 152-53 
Construction documents, 136, 160-61 

addenda to, 180 

and budget estimate, 177-78 

characteristics of, 160-61 
Construction manager 

in bidding process, 185-87 

compared with general contractor, 170-71 

integrated contract, 125-26 

responsibilities of, 141-42, 167, 171 

and architects' team, 141 

architectural-program role of, 69-70 

and contract negotiations, 122-24 

reimbursable costs, 125 
Contingency allocation, 178, 181 

and field changes, 198 
Contract documents, 160-61 
Contractors. See also Construction manager; 
General contractor 

rules and regulations, 185 

site-mobilization responsibility of, 192 
Contracts, 120-26, 179-85 

AIA's standard form for, 121 

design consultant's role in, 121-24 

and drawings, 288 

and fast tracking, 182 

fees and compensation in, 124-25 

general conditions in, 183-84 

in joint ventures, 121-22 

penalties and incentives in, 180 

types of, 179-80 

Cool-beam lamps, 269 

Core leadership group, 34-35, 37 

Corrections in design, 145 

Cost-control firms, 176 

Cost estimates 

establishing mechanism for, 94 

frequency of, 154, 177 

methods for, 177 

responsibility for, 153 
Cost plus contract, 179, 183 
Costs. See also Budgets; Construction costs; 
Cost estimates 

of architect, 124-25 

constraints during project completion, 

in first project budget, 92-94 

hard and soft, 150-54 

job-review process, 189 

management of, 200-201 

of mechanical system, 262 

of occupancy, 150-51 

of operating, 154, 158, 178-79 
Curatorial areas, 76 
Curing new facilities, 220-21 

Dallas Museum of Art, west facade, 10 
Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building, Art 

Institute of Chicago, 108 
David H. McAlpin Study Center, Art 

Museum, Princeton University, 88 
Daylighting, 265-68, 270-71 

models, 287-88 
Dead load, 256 
Deadlines, 212 

Deaf. See Disabled: hearing impaired 
Decision making 

and changes, 199-200 

in design phase, 146 

establishing hierarchy of, 35-36 
Delays, 162-63, 181 
Demolition contract, 192 
Department stores, similarity to museums, 

The Des Moines Arts Center, 28 
Design architect 

contract negotiations of, 121-22 

responsibility of, 141 
Design changes, 189 
Design consultants, 121-24 
Design development, 159-60 
Design phase, 137-55 
Design presentation/review, 144-46 
Dichroic reflector lamps, 269 
Diffuse light, 264, 267-68 
Diffusers, 267-68 
Dimmers, 269 

Direct refrigerant climate control, 260 
Direct selection 

of architect, 115-16 

of contractor, 186 


Disabled, 239-48 

and accessibility issues, 239-48 

alliances with, 43 

construction documents, 161 

in contract negotiations, 123 

demographics of, 239-40 

hearing impaired, 241-42 

and legal issues, 163 

mobility impaired, 240-41 

and review committee, 143 

visually impaired, 241 
Documentation, 156-57, 194-95 
Double duct, constant air-volume system, 

Double-paned glass, 268 
Drawings, architectural. See Architectural 

Dry-pipe sprinklers, 275 
Ducts, noise control, 255-56 
Dust, 221 

Educational facilities, 73-74 

at Art Museum, Princeton University, 88 

at Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 89 

at Yale Center for British Art, 87. 127 
Electrical loads, 257 
Electrical systems. See also Lighting 

contract listing, 175 

energy conservation, 270 

noise control, 256 

start-up phase, 195 
Electronic surveillance, 279 
Elevations, in drawings, 284 
Emory University Museum of Art and 

Archaeology (Atlanta, Ga.), 84 
Energy costs, 154 
Entrances and entry spaces, 8-12, 58-66, 112, 

Entry points, 72, 148 
Entry sequences, 285 
Environmental control, 249-54 

and consultants, 123 
Equipment costs, 153 
Estimates of cost. See Cost estimates 
Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, N.Y.), 

north fagade, 9 
Exhibition-gallery space. See also Installations 

in architectural program, 74 

preparation of, occupancy, 222-25 

of Des Moines Art Center, 28 

as growth option, 25-26 

of Jewish Museum, 27 

of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 

of Metropolitan Museum of Art, 24-25 

of Museum of Contemporary Art, 46-47 

of Museum of Modern Art, 42-43 

of National Gallery of Art, 26 

of Walker Art Center, 78-79 

Expediter, 220 

Exploitable resources, 41-48 

Exterior elevations, 284 

Fagades. See Entrances and entry spaces 

Fast tracking, 182-83 


in program statement, 53-54 

review of, 94-96 

cap on, 125 

in contract negotiations, 124-25 
Field changes, 198 
Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago), 

Filtration, 253-54, 260-61 
Final completion, 203 
Financial assets, 44 
Financial feasibility, 53-54, 95 
Finish requirements 

punch list, 204 

quality standards, 212-13 
Fire-alarm system, 273-74 
Fire-detection system, 273-74 
Fire-extinguishing systems, 274-77 
Fire protection, 150, 272-77 
First project budget, 92-94 
Fixed fees, 125 
Fixed louvers, 267 
Fixed price contract, 179 

versus fast tracking, 182-83 
Flame detectors, 273 
Floodhghts, 267 
Floor plan, 284, 286-87 
Fluorescent lighting, 256, 269-70 
Food services 

in architectural program, 73 

at Field Museum, 85 

at Museum of Fine Arts, 85 

testing of, 227 

variations in, 85 
Footcandle, 264, 271 
Formaldehyde, 253 
Frame shadows, 271 
Framing area, 75 
Freight-loading areas, 158 
Fund raising 

costs of, 151 

as exploitable resource, 44 

feasibility of, 53-54, 95 
Funding, 53-54, 95 

Furniture, fixtures, and equipment costs, 153 
Future feasibility plan, 54 


in architectural program, 74 

finishing of, 204-5 

preparation of, occupancy, 222-25 

renovation of, 234-35 
Gaseous pollutants, 253-54, 260-61 


General conditions, 183-84 
General contractor 

in bidding process, 185-87 

compared with construction manager, 

integrated contract, 125 

mobilization-cost responsibilities of, 152 

responsibilities of, 167, 170-71 

site-mobilization responsibilities of, 192 
George Gund Theater, University Art 

Museum, 86 
Getty Center (Los Angeles) 

construction of, 191 

model of, 190 

site of, 291 
Glare, 267-68, 271 
Glass, and side-lighting, 268 
Governance, and decision making, 30 
Government concerns. 111, 114 
Government oversight, 163 
Government review, 201-2 
Graphic-design package, 201 
Gross space needs, 53 
Group visits, 74 
Guaranteed-maximum price, 171, 179-80 

versus fast tracking, 182-83 
Guggenheim Museum. See The Solomon R. 
Guggenheim Museum 

Halon systems, 275-76 
Hard costs, 150-54 
definition of, 150 
in first project budget, 93 
Hazardous materials, 163-64 
Hearing impairments. See Disabled: hearing 

Heat detectors, 273 

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning 
(HVAC), 251-52 
and air quality, 253 
decision making about, 262 
High-intensity discharge lamps, 270 
High Museum of Art (Atlanta, Ga.), 237 
High point loads, 257 
Hospitals, similarity to museums, 106 
The Hudson River Museum (Yonkers, N.Y.), 

Humidity, 250-53, 260-61 

Incandescent lighting, 269 

Incentives, in contracts, 180 

Incomplete base contract, 204 

Indianapolis Museum of Art, conservation lab, 

Information services, 72 
Infrared heat, 269 
Infrared rays, 264 
In-house administration, 142-44 
Inspections, 220 
Installation designer, 129, 131, 135, 159 


construction schedule of, 181-82 

finishing of, 204-5 

preparation of, occupancy, 222-25 

responsibility for design of, 126, 128-29, 
131, 135 
Insurance, 183 
Integrated contracts, 125-26 
Interior elevations, 284 

construction schedule of, 181-82 

contract listing of, 175 

design of, contract, 121 

finishing of, 204-5 
Interview, in architectural competition, 119 
Invitational competition. See Architectural 

Ionization smoke detectors, 273 
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 

Brooklyn Museum, 268-69 
Isozaki, Arata, 114 

The Jewish Museum (New York), 27 
Job-review process, 188-89, 197-202 
Joint-venture entities, 122 

Kimball Art Museum (Fort Worth, Tex.) 
collections gallery, 203 
principal fagade, 9 

Laguna Gloria Art Museum (Austin, Tex.), 

sketch and model of, 262 
Landmark reviews, 163 
Lanterns, 268 
Laylights, 267 

determination of, in mission statement, 34 

importance of, 17-18 

program statement role, 52-53 

and project completion, psychology, 214 
Legal issues, 163 

Legislation, and accessibility, 242-43 
Liability, 183 

in architectural program, 76 

at Yale Center for British Art, 87 
Life-safety considerations, 278-82 
Light levels, 264-65 
Light meter, 264, 271, 288 
Light monitors, 268 
Lighting, 263-71 

ascertaining levels of, 264 

conservation concerns, 263-64 

fluorescent, 256, 269-70 

incandescent, 269 

levels of, 264-65 

planning for, 263 

prediction of effects, 270-71 
Live load, 256 
Load factors, 256-57 


Local alliances, 43-44 

Long-lead items, 196 

Long-range plan, 32-33, 48-50 

Longitudinal section, 284 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 
Pavilion of Japanese Art, 127 
Robert O. Anderson Building, 80-82 

Louvers, 267-68 

Low-voltage lamps, 269 

Lump sum contract, 179 
versus fast tracking, 182-83 

"Lux," 264 

Mam entrance. See Entrances and entry spaces 

Maintenance areas, 77 

Maintenance staff, 228 

Management reserve, 178 

Manuals, 204 

Marquand-Mather Court, Art Museum, 

Princeton University, 222—23 
Master plan, 31, 149 
Matting and framing area, 75 
Mechanical consultant, 122 
Mechanical systems 

in architectural program, 16 

costs of, 262 

decision making about, 262 

and noise control, 255—56 

start-up phase, 195 

test running of, 227 
Meetings, 144, 156 
Meeting spaces, 77 
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (Memphis, 

Tenn.), 30 
The Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.) 

east facade, 11 

entrance foyer, 112 

north arcade, 112 

20th-century Gallery, 113 
Metal-halide lamps, 270 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) 

aerial photograph, 25 

as exemplar for expansion need, 21 

expansion plan, 24 
Micro-climate, 251 
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Walker Art 

Center, 79 
Minutes of meetings, 144, 156 
Mission statement, 33-36 

and community issues, 35-36 

core leadership identification, 34-35 

definition of, 32-33 

establishing decision-making hierarchy, 

in planning process, 33-36 
Mixed-use components, 42 
Mobility impairments. See Disabled: mobility 

Mobilization costs, 150-53 

Models and mock-ups, 135, 271, 283, 287-88 

of Chrysler Museum, 129 

of Getty Center, 190 

of Laguna Gloria Art Museum, 162 

of Museum of Contemporary Art, 114 

of Museum of Modern Art, 131 

of Seattle Art Museum, 172 
Modelscope, 287 
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts 

artworks gallery, 89 

principal fagade, 12 
Monumental stairs. See Entrances and entry 


and changes, 200 

at design stage, 164 

at site-mobilization stage, 192—94 

and site-visit benefits, 214 
Move-in period, 211-12, 225-26 

and changes, 232 

importance of, 225-26 

informing staff about, 229-30 

length of, 211-12 

practical tips on, 228-30 

schedule for, 229 

test-running phase of, 226-27 
Moving costs, 152-53 
Multizone climate control, 262 
Museum director 

architectural-program role of, 68 

in construction phase, 176 

decision making, design phase, 146 

project-management role of, 139-40 
The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los 

in downtown redevelopment plan, 45 

evolution of development in urban context, 

model of, 114 

principal entry, 11 
The Museum of Contemporary Art/Temporary 

Contemporary (Los Angeles), 108 
Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) 

renovation of Impressionist Gallery, 234 

restaurant, 80 
The Museum of Modern Art (New York) 

collections galleries, 104, 105 

Design Store, 83 

evolution of architecture, 42-43 

garden, 43 

model of Garden Hall space, 131 

principal fagade, 8, 42 

retail space, 83 
Museum staff 

architectural-program involvement of, 148 

and changes, 199-200 

morale of, 164, 192-94, 200, 214 

at move-in period, 228-31 

as nurturable resource, 39 


review-committee role of, 142-44 
and selection of architect, 100 
and site mobilization, morale, 192-94 
and site-visit benefits, 214 

National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.) 

aerial photograph, 26 

East Building, 66 

role in stimulating museum expansion, 21 
National Museum of American History 

(Washmgton, D.C), 193-94 
Natural light, 265-68, 270-71 

models of, 287-88 
Needs assessment, 36-38 

in core planning, 37 

principal considerations of, 49-50 
Negotiated bid, 186 
Networks of colleagues, 44 
The Newark Museum 

Billy Johnson Auditorium, 86 

South Wing Entrance, 60 
Noise control. See Acoustics 

Occupancy, 207-30 

phased, 218-19 

physical issues, 216-17, 231-32 

planning for, 17 

psychological factors, 213-16 

steps in, 220-27 
Occupancy costs, 150-51, 153 
100 percent construction documents, 177-78, 

Open competition. See Architectural 

Open-office planning, 77 
Opening date, 212 
Operating costs 

during construction, 178-79 

projections of, 154, 158 
Operating manuals, 204 
Operating staff 

at facility shake-down period, 221 

at move-in period, 228-29 

at occupancy stage, 214 

in architectural program, 77 

schematics of, 158 
Orientation facilities, 72, 73-74 
Outdoor pollution, 253-54 
Owner's representative, 176-77 

of architectural document, 135-36 

impact on decision making, 30 

PAR lamps, 269 

Particulates, filtering, 253-54, 260-61 
Partnerships, 122 

Pavilion of Japanese Art, Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art, 127 

Payment bond, 185 

Peabody Museum (Salem, Mass.) 

art-storage area, 224-25 

Chinese Export Decorative Arts Gallery, 

facade, 130 
Penalties, and contracts, 180 
Performance criteria, 249-58 
Personnel costs, 178-79, 184 
Phased occupancy, 218-19 
Photoelectric smoke detectors, 273 
Photography area, 75 
Photometry charts, 271 
Planning process, 32-50 

formal aspects of, 51-56 

mission statement of, 33-36 

needs assessment in, 36-38 

resource analysis in, 38-48 
Plumbing, 257-58 

Polk Museum of Art (Lakeland, Fla.), 60 
Pollutants, 253-54 
Preaction sprinkler system, 275 
Preselected bidding, 186 
Presentation documents, 160 
Presentation of design, 144-46 
Private ownership, 30 
Production architect, 126 
Professional staff. See Museum staff 
Program statement, 33, 52-54 
Programs, in resource analysis, 39 
Progress reports, 200-201 
Project architect 

and exhibition design, 182 

responsibilities of, 141 
Project completion. See Completion stage 
Project continuity, 161-62 
Project director 

construction-schedule role of, 182 

continuity importance of, 172, 176 

decision making by, 146 

responsibilities of, 138-40, 155, 176, 182 

team management by, 14, 172, 176 
Project documentation. See Documentation 
Project manager, 138-40 
Project meetings, 144, 156 
Project team 

compared with committee, 138 

function of, 15, 138 

importance of leadership, 17 

responsibilities of professional members 
of, 15 
Promotional needs, 202 
Property rights, 44-45 
Psychological factors. See also Morale 

at occupancy stage, 213-16 

site-visit benefits, 213 
Public-assembly permits, 220 
Public facilities, test running, 226-27 
Public ownership, 30 


Public spaces 

in architectural program, 71-74, 147 

schematics of, 158 
Publicity, 202 
Punch list, 203-5 

versus incomplete base contract, 204 

sample of, 205 

and taking possession, 218-19 

verification of, 219 

Quality standards, 212-13 
"Quartz-iodine" lamps, 269 

R lamps, 269 

Real estate, 44-45 

Redesigning, 198 

Reflective glass, 268 

Reflector lamps, 269 

Regenstein Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 108 

Regulations, of contractors, 185 

Rehabilitation Act (1973), 242-43 

Reheating system, 261 

Reimbursable costs, 125 

Relative humidity, 250-52, 260-61 


contactors' rules, 185 

costs of, 152-53 

option of, 26 

and renovation, 234 

and utilities, 189-90 
Renaissance Hall, Brooklyn Museum, 173 

at Ackland Art Museum, 235 

at Art Institute of Chicago, 107 

at Art Museum, Princeton University, 

at Brooklyn Museum, 173-74 

at Museum of Fine Arts, 234 

as option for change, 23 

at William Benton Museum of Art, 210 

for information, 189 

for proposal method, 116-18 

for qualifications method, 116-18 
Research areas, 76 
Resource analysis, 32, 38-48 
Restaurant services 

in architectural program, 73 

at Field Museum, 85 

at Museum of Fine Arts, 85 

testing of, 227 

variations in, 85 
Restoration, 45 

versus adaptive reuse, 23 

definition of, 23 

as option for change, 25 

in architectural program, 73 

at Emory University Museum of Art and 
Archaeology, 84 

Retail-sales service 

in architectural program, 72-73 

at Hudson River Museum, 82 

MoMA Design Store, 83 
Retainage, 232 

Review committees, 139, 143 
Review of design, 144-46 
Review process, 188-89, 197-202 
"RFP"/"RFQ" method, 116-18 
Right of ownership, 135-36 
Robert O. Anderson Building, Los Angeles 

County Museum of Art, 80-81 
Rules and regulations, 185 

Safety issues, 150, 278-82 
The Saint Louis Art Museum 

Caribbean Festival Arts installation, 109 

Grand Staircase, 61 

north iaqade, 8 
The San Diego Museum of Art, main entrance, 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 

architectural drawings of, 133-35 
Scale, and drawings, 286-87 
Schedule issues 

at construction phase, 180-82 

at design phase, 155 

at moving-in phase, 229 

project completion, 211-12 
Schematics, 157-59 
School groups, 74 

Scope changes, 145-46, 154, 198-99, 201 
Seattle Art Museum 

architectural drawing of, 172 

construction of, 170, 171 

model of, 172 
Sections, 284 
Security systems, 278-82 

in architectural program, 16, 150, 278 

during construction, 281-82 

planning for, 278 

risk assessment in, 279-81 

schematics, 158 

site protection of, 152 
Services, and resource analysis, 39 
Shading devices, 268 
Shadows, 271 
Shake-down period, 221 
Shop drawings, 195, 288 
Side-lighting, 268 
Single duct 

variable air-volume system, 261 

with reheat, 261 
Site plan, 285 
Site-related issues, 189-94 

general conditions, costs, 184 

job-review process, 188-89 

mobilization, 189-94 

and property rights, 44-45 
Site visits, 201, 214 


Skylights, 266-67 
Smoke detectors, 273 
Sodium-vapor lamps, 270 
Soft costs, 150-51 

in first project budget, 92-93 
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New 

principal faqade, 8 

renderings of, 132 

rotunda, 236 
Sound absorption. See Acoustics 
Spare parts, 204 
Spatial feasibility, 53 
Sprinkling systems, 274-75 
Staff needs. See Museum staff 
Staff offices, 77 
Start-up trades, 195 
Storage space, 75-76, 77 

design consultants, 123-24 
Study rooms. See Educational facilities 
"Substantial completion," 203 
Symbols, in drawings, 284-85 

University Art Museum (Berkeley, Calif.) 

George Gund Theater, 86 

main entry, 10 
Utilities. See also Electrical systems 

relocation during site mobilization, 189-90 

Value engineering, 142, 154 
Vapor barrier, 252 
Variable air-volume system, 261 
Ventilation. See Heating, ventilation, and air- 
conditioning (HVAC) 
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond, Va.) 

Lewis Gallery, 206 

monumental stairs, 61 
Visitor services, 71-75 
Visitor space. See Public spaces 
Visual impairments. See Disabled: visually 

Visualization of spaces, 286-87 

as exploitable leadership resource, 41-42 

and project completion, 214 

Tax-exempt financing, 44 

Team responsibility. See Project team 

Telephones, 73 

Temperature control, 252-53, 260-61 

Temporary galleries, 108-9 

Temporary storage, costs, 152-53 

Thermostat placement, 161 

Three-dimensional representation, 287 

Ticketing systems, 227 

Tinted glass, 267-68 

Top-lighting, 266-68 

Track lighting, 267, 270 

Training, 204 

Transformers, noise control, 256 

Transverse section, 284 

Tungsten lamps, 269 

Ultraviolet rays. See Lighting 

Uniform Federal Accessibilitif Standards, 242 

Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minn.), 

Warburg Mansion, as site of Jewish Museum, 

Water damage, 276-77 
Weight loads, 256-57 
Wet-pipe sprinklers, 274-75 
Wheelchair accessibility. See Accessibility: 

The William Benton Museum of Art (Storrs, 

Conn.), no 
"Window walls," 268 
"Wrap-up" policy. See Insurance 

The Yale Center for British Art (New Haven, 
reference library, 87 
study galleries, 127 
urban context of, 48 




Building an art museum represents a pinnacle of achievement in the careers of many museum pro- 
fessionals and architects, and yet, if students at any level are introduced at all to this important but 
intimidating process, it is usually only in terms of artistic or technical questions of structure and 
design. Now , this comprehensive, accessible book — the first to be written from the point of view of the 
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museums and existing museum facilities. 

Developed from a survey by leading museum professionals of thirty museums throughout the 
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moving in, and ongoing op)erations. 

By covering the psychological and emotional, as well as procedural and technical, issues of the 
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About the authors 

Joan Darragh is Vice Director of Planning and Architecture at The Brooklyn Museum, where she has 
completed a $30 million first phase of a comprehensive master plan to lead the institution into the next 
century. She is the editor of and a contributor to A New Brooklyn Museum: The Master Plan 
Competition (1987). ^ 

James S. Snyder is Deputy Director for Planning and Program Support at The Museum of Modern 
Art. He oversaw the museum's $55 million expansion and renovation program, completed in 1984, 
and, during his eighteen-year tenure there, has been significantly involved in nearly all phases of its 
programming and operations. 

355 *i?.5ti 

MUS design: PLHhH I Ni3 



Caver design by Ann Lowe 


9 780195"064599'