Contract - The New Days of Ore: Mark Cavagnero Associates transforms the Park City Museum

design - features - institutional design



The New Days of Ore: Mark Cavagnero Associates transforms the Park City Museum

20 September, 2010

-By Holly Richmond


Park City, Utah, may be best known for hosting megawatt events like the Winter Olympics and the Sundance Film Festival and for being a chic, engaging winter holiday destination. What Park City was not known for, until recently, was having an equally inspired museum. “It’s a joke that we are the best kept secret in Park City. Local residents didn’t even know we had a museum,” laughs Sandra Morrison, Park City Museum’s executive director. A secret no longer, the newly expanded and refurbished museum bridges the past to the present through an innovative yet historically sensitive design.

No small undertaking to be sure, San Francisco-based Mark Cavagnero Associates updated and modernized the existing programmatic spaces—which offered just more than 1,000 sq. ft. of gallery space—into a series of buildings that expand the facility to 13,000 sq. ft. A 5,400-sq.-ft. addition completes the new museum by creating much needed space for galleries, a lobby, research rooms, and administrative offices. Mark Cavagnero, principal in charge, explains that the first objective was to expand the facility in order for the museum to adequately host its visitors and to display the vast collection of art and artifacts that were in storage due to lack of gallery space. “The second piece to our design challenge was to create the perfect balance between old and new, to offer a sense of modernity within an historic context,” he says.

Located in the heart of the town’s historic Main Street, the museum always has celebrated the area’s rich and rugged history as a center for silver mining and a haven for skiing and other winter sports. The site originally was composed of three historic buildings—the City Hall and Territorial Jail (1885), the Library (1900), and the Fire Department Whistle Tower (1901). Cavagnero and his team intently focused on programming as well as the urban design of the site to have the old and new spaces merge seamlessly into the surrounding streetscape. The addition is located behind the three historic buildings on Swede Alley, which serves as a second Main Street, and is composed of a north wing, south wing, and central spine. It is not only a modern counterpoint to the adjacent historic buildings, but it also serves as a connector from Swede Alley to Main Street. “We designed the addition as a lantern or beacon to usher in this new, exciting aspect of the city,” says Laura Blake, project director and principal at Mark Cavagnero Associates.

With a two-story window wall of steel sash set in steel armature and punching through the building’s sandstone massing, the addition has an overall height of 17 ft. and a length of 60 ft., which provides daylight and visual access to both the new galleries and the historic façades beyond. The new addition also is lit from within at night, allowing passersby to view the dramatic interior spaces that often are rented to corporations and organizations for events. (Microsoft used the main gallery space for an event during last season’s Sundance Film Festival.)

Yet, this modern space perfectly nestles into its surrounds—the north wing is set back further than the south to mimic the stepping pattern of the buildings along the alley, and at its roofline, the eave of the north wing aligns with the eave of the historic City Hall’s gable roof. “We did not want the project to be faux western or too obviously historic, so our mission was to reinterpret the past instead of replicating it. We were constantly challenging ourselves to hit the nail on the head by offering something that was in keeping with the historic preservations guidelines, but also was fresh,” explains Cavagnero.

This challenge also was realized in the museum’s interior spaces. The Territorial Jail in the basement was meticulously preserved, while an adjacent historic shed was converted from a rundown public restroom into a dramatic gallery space that houses numerous mining exhibitions. The floor-to-ceiling dimensions of the addition facilitate the display of large objects, including mining and skiing artifacts, and also provide flexibility for future exhibitions.

1926 Graham Brother’s Dodge fire truckSet between the two wings of the museum, the central spine makes the connection between old and new effortless and houses accessibility ramps and a mezzanine. The spine also conceals the museum’s state-of-the-art HVAC system. “We were truly pleased with the design aesthetic and functionality of the connector stair,” remarks Blake. “Not only does it easily accommodate visitors through all three levels, but it does so in an open and inviting way. It is a place to view the exhibitions, as well as people watch, and the fact that it hides the mechanical components from public view increases the space’s overall transparency.”

Cavagnero agrees with his colleague, believing that the building never detracts from the exhibitions. “If you look up, all you see is museum lights and beautiful stone walls. There are no unnecessary visual distractions, which gives the space a pristine quality. The 21st century infrastructure simply melds into the 19th century building,” he concludes.

The expansion and renovation of the Park City Museum has greatly increased its presence and stature within the historic city center. Morrison reports 40,000 visitors in the first six months, an achievement about which she and the museum’s board of directors are extremely pleased. “The museum is everything it should be now,” she says. “Visitors come in and disappear for hours, which I love to see. That’s the point, right?” Morrison believes both locals and visitors are rediscovering Park City’s dynamic past, and with the renewed enthusiasm for preservation, will help usher in an exciting future.


who
Project: Park City Museum. Owner: Park City Historical Society & Museum. Architecture/interior design firm: Mark Cavagnero Associates; Mark Cavagnero, FAIA, principal; Laura Blake, principal/project director; Brandon Joo, project architect. Contractor: Layton-Interior Construction Specialists, Inc. Lighting consultant: Auerbach Glasow French Consultants. Structural engineer: Reaveley Engineers & Associates. MEP: Spectrum Engineers. Civil engineer: Great Basin Engineering. Exhibit Designer: West Office Exhibition Design. Exhibit fabrication: Pacific Studio. Photographer: Tim Griffith (Image of fire truck exhibition by Michael Skarsten Photography).

what
Paint: Sherwin-Williams, Tnemec, Inc. Dry wall: Gerogia-Pacific. Flooring: Mullican Flooring. Ceiling: HunterDouglas, Epic Metals Corporation. Lighting: Hubbell, Inc.; Phillips Day-Brite; Translite Systems. Glass: AGC Flat Glass North America, Hope’s Windows.

where
Location: Park City, UT. Total floor area: 12,900 sq. ft. No. of floors: 2 floors and Basement. Average floor size: 1st floor – 6200 sq. ft., 2nd floor – 1400 sq. ft., Basement – 5300 sq. ft. Total staff size: 5. Cost/sq. ft.: $250.




The New Days of Ore: Mark Cavagnero Associates transforms the Park City Museum

20 September, 2010


Tim Griffith

Park City, Utah, may be best known for hosting megawatt events like the Winter Olympics and the Sundance Film Festival and for being a chic, engaging winter holiday destination. What Park City was not known for, until recently, was having an equally inspired museum. “It’s a joke that we are the best kept secret in Park City. Local residents didn’t even know we had a museum,” laughs Sandra Morrison, Park City Museum’s executive director. A secret no longer, the newly expanded and refurbished museum bridges the past to the present through an innovative yet historically sensitive design.

No small undertaking to be sure, San Francisco-based Mark Cavagnero Associates updated and modernized the existing programmatic spaces—which offered just more than 1,000 sq. ft. of gallery space—into a series of buildings that expand the facility to 13,000 sq. ft. A 5,400-sq.-ft. addition completes the new museum by creating much needed space for galleries, a lobby, research rooms, and administrative offices. Mark Cavagnero, principal in charge, explains that the first objective was to expand the facility in order for the museum to adequately host its visitors and to display the vast collection of art and artifacts that were in storage due to lack of gallery space. “The second piece to our design challenge was to create the perfect balance between old and new, to offer a sense of modernity within an historic context,” he says.

Located in the heart of the town’s historic Main Street, the museum always has celebrated the area’s rich and rugged history as a center for silver mining and a haven for skiing and other winter sports. The site originally was composed of three historic buildings—the City Hall and Territorial Jail (1885), the Library (1900), and the Fire Department Whistle Tower (1901). Cavagnero and his team intently focused on programming as well as the urban design of the site to have the old and new spaces merge seamlessly into the surrounding streetscape. The addition is located behind the three historic buildings on Swede Alley, which serves as a second Main Street, and is composed of a north wing, south wing, and central spine. It is not only a modern counterpoint to the adjacent historic buildings, but it also serves as a connector from Swede Alley to Main Street. “We designed the addition as a lantern or beacon to usher in this new, exciting aspect of the city,” says Laura Blake, project director and principal at Mark Cavagnero Associates.

With a two-story window wall of steel sash set in steel armature and punching through the building’s sandstone massing, the addition has an overall height of 17 ft. and a length of 60 ft., which provides daylight and visual access to both the new galleries and the historic façades beyond. The new addition also is lit from within at night, allowing passersby to view the dramatic interior spaces that often are rented to corporations and organizations for events. (Microsoft used the main gallery space for an event during last season’s Sundance Film Festival.)

Yet, this modern space perfectly nestles into its surrounds—the north wing is set back further than the south to mimic the stepping pattern of the buildings along the alley, and at its roofline, the eave of the north wing aligns with the eave of the historic City Hall’s gable roof. “We did not want the project to be faux western or too obviously historic, so our mission was to reinterpret the past instead of replicating it. We were constantly challenging ourselves to hit the nail on the head by offering something that was in keeping with the historic preservations guidelines, but also was fresh,” explains Cavagnero.

This challenge also was realized in the museum’s interior spaces. The Territorial Jail in the basement was meticulously preserved, while an adjacent historic shed was converted from a rundown public restroom into a dramatic gallery space that houses numerous mining exhibitions. The floor-to-ceiling dimensions of the addition facilitate the display of large objects, including mining and skiing artifacts, and also provide flexibility for future exhibitions.

1926 Graham Brother’s Dodge fire truckSet between the two wings of the museum, the central spine makes the connection between old and new effortless and houses accessibility ramps and a mezzanine. The spine also conceals the museum’s state-of-the-art HVAC system. “We were truly pleased with the design aesthetic and functionality of the connector stair,” remarks Blake. “Not only does it easily accommodate visitors through all three levels, but it does so in an open and inviting way. It is a place to view the exhibitions, as well as people watch, and the fact that it hides the mechanical components from public view increases the space’s overall transparency.”

Cavagnero agrees with his colleague, believing that the building never detracts from the exhibitions. “If you look up, all you see is museum lights and beautiful stone walls. There are no unnecessary visual distractions, which gives the space a pristine quality. The 21st century infrastructure simply melds into the 19th century building,” he concludes.

The expansion and renovation of the Park City Museum has greatly increased its presence and stature within the historic city center. Morrison reports 40,000 visitors in the first six months, an achievement about which she and the museum’s board of directors are extremely pleased. “The museum is everything it should be now,” she says. “Visitors come in and disappear for hours, which I love to see. That’s the point, right?” Morrison believes both locals and visitors are rediscovering Park City’s dynamic past, and with the renewed enthusiasm for preservation, will help usher in an exciting future.


who
Project: Park City Museum. Owner: Park City Historical Society & Museum. Architecture/interior design firm: Mark Cavagnero Associates; Mark Cavagnero, FAIA, principal; Laura Blake, principal/project director; Brandon Joo, project architect. Contractor: Layton-Interior Construction Specialists, Inc. Lighting consultant: Auerbach Glasow French Consultants. Structural engineer: Reaveley Engineers & Associates. MEP: Spectrum Engineers. Civil engineer: Great Basin Engineering. Exhibit Designer: West Office Exhibition Design. Exhibit fabrication: Pacific Studio. Photographer: Tim Griffith (Image of fire truck exhibition by Michael Skarsten Photography).

what
Paint: Sherwin-Williams, Tnemec, Inc. Dry wall: Gerogia-Pacific. Flooring: Mullican Flooring. Ceiling: HunterDouglas, Epic Metals Corporation. Lighting: Hubbell, Inc.; Phillips Day-Brite; Translite Systems. Glass: AGC Flat Glass North America, Hope’s Windows.

where
Location: Park City, UT. Total floor area: 12,900 sq. ft. No. of floors: 2 floors and Basement. Average floor size: 1st floor – 6200 sq. ft., 2nd floor – 1400 sq. ft., Basement – 5300 sq. ft. Total staff size: 5. Cost/sq. ft.: $250.

 


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