Ground broke this month on an expansion to a museum that holds more than 7,000 pieces of art. The architecture firm Foster + Partners designed a new West Wing for the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The renovations include 12,000 sf of new gallery space, a 210-seat auditorium, two new classrooms, a student gallery, and a family gallery, which will have a 150-foot-long colonnade with large windows that look out onto the surrounding garden.
A new 3,600-sf, 43-foot-tall “great hall” will serve as a gathering spot at the center of the building.
Outside, 20,000 sf of lawns and plantings will replace an existing parking lot, and part of that area will be a 9,000-sf event lawn that will host parties. The designers call the concept “a museum in a garden.”
“The new extension of the museum represents an exciting opportunity to place the reinvigorated Norton at the heart of Florida’s cultural life and to establish its international presence, allowing more people to enjoy the museum’s very special collection,” Norman Foster, Founder and Chairman, Foster + Partners, said in a statement.
“Reinforcing its natural setting with a ‘museum in a garden,’ our aim has been to restore a sense of clarity to the existing building by reasserting the logic of the original plan; creating new event and visitor spaces that will transform the museum into the social heart of the community; as well as increasing the gallery and exhibition spaces, to engage with a wider audience, both local and national.”
The museum, which contains paintings from Vincent van Gogh and Edgar Degas along with other contemporary art and photography, was built in 1941. A 45,000-sf expansion in 2003 made the museum the largest in the state.
The "great hall" will serve as a lounge that can host events.
Added green space will make the Norton a “a museum in a garden.”