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Connecticut’s Bruce Museum more than doubles its size with a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition

Museums

Connecticut’s Bruce Museum more than doubles its size with a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition

The design by EskewDumezRipple emphasizes daylighting and energy efficiency and draws inspiration from the Connecticut coast’s rock quarries.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor  | June 20, 2024
Connecticut’s Bruce Museum more than doubles its size with a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley

In Greenwich, Conn., the Bruce Museum, a multidisciplinary institution highlighting art, science, and history, has undergone a campus revitalization and expansion that more than doubles the museum’s size.

Designed by EskewDumezRipple and built by Turner Construction, the project includes a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition as well as a comprehensive renovation of the 32,500-sf museum, which was originally built as a private home in the mid-19th century and expanded in the early 1990s. 

The project provides permanent and changing galleries, expanded collection storage, education spaces, public gathering places, and a public entrance lobby. A new lecture hall serves as a hub for community programming, public lectures, and receptions. 

“We can host the community in a way we’ve never been able to before,” Robert Wolterstorff, executive director, Bruce Museum, said in a statement. “In the past, we had no permanent collections galleries.”

The project reorients the museum’s entrance so that, instead of facing a highway, it now faces the free and public Bruce Park. The double-height lobby, café, and gift shop form an open, free-flowing public area, and a new courtyard joins the existing museum to the addition. 

EskewDumezRipple’s design draws inspiration from both the historic stone house and the surrounding region’s geology. The striated façade of cast stone and glass evokes the Connecticut coast’s rock quarries, and the façade changes appearance as the sun changes position depending on the time of day and year. The design emphasizes natural daylighting, with openings in the façade providing light to the interior that gradually recedes deeper in the galleries.

The energy-efficient design includes an airtight façade, highly efficient air-handling units, a dehumidification system, and a stormwater management system that collects 100% of rainwater onsite. The museum has a predicted Energy Use Intensity (EUI), or the amount of energy used per square foot annually, of 63, in contrast to an EUI of 186 for similar museums in the northeast US, according to the statement.

On the Building Team:
Owner: Bruce Museum
Owner’s representative: Stone Harbor Land Company
Architecture and interiors: EskewDumezRipple
Contractor: Turner Construction
Landscape architect: Reed Hilderbrand
Structural engineering: Guy Nordenson and Associates 
MEP engineering: Altieri 
Civil engineering: Redniss & Mead
Geotechnical: Melick-Tully and Associates
Lighting: Fisher Marantz Stone
Acoustics and A/V: Jaffe Holden
Envelope: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley
Photo: Tim Hursley

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