Norton Museum of Art West Palm Beach, Miami Building Renewal, American Architecture Images
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach
New Architecture Project in Florida, USA – design by Foster + Partners
Feb 8 & 7, 2019
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach
Design: Foster + Partners, Architects, UK
Location: West Palm Beach, Miami, Florida, USA
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach in Miami
The inaugural gala for the Norton Museum of Art was held in West Palm Beach, Florida, celebrating its transformation by Foster + Partners. The renovation and expansion of the museum has added new galleries and much needed facilities for its visitors, while reinstating the axial arrangement and clarity of circulation of the original 1940’s building.
Photos by Nigel Young/ Foster + Partners
Above all, the museum is no longer surrounded by car parking, but is the focus of an extensive, new sub-tropical garden displaying a magnificent collection of contemporary sculpture. The opening gala was attended by, amongst others, Executive Director Hope Alswang, friends of the museum Ken Griffin and Leonard Lauder, Norton trustees Ronnie Heyman and Gil Maurer, and Lord Foster.
The Norton was built in 1941 as an elegant series of Art Deco-inspired single-story pavilions around a central courtyard. Subsequent expansion broke the symmetry of the original arrangement, and the axial configuration was undermined by the relocation of the main entrance to the side of the building. The new masterplan restores the logic of the original plan, reasserting the clarity of the main circulation, balancing the different building heights, introducing new exhibition galleries and education spaces.
The new facilities include an auditorium, shop, restaurant and a unique social meeting space – the Great Hall – as well as the Great Lawn, suitable for screening films outdoors, all aimed at attracting a wider local and international audience. In addition to providing new gallery spaces, the design carefully peels away layers of subsequent extensions to reveal the original fabric of the historic galleries.
The campus now provides the much-anticipated outdoor setting for the museum’s growing sculpture collection and reinforces the relationship between the building and the landscape. It seeks to create an enhanced visitor experience with a strong social focus for the community while laying the foundation for the future growth of the museum as one of Florida’s leading cultural institutions.
Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners, said: “The revitalization of the Norton is rooted in revealing and enhancing the original spirit of the building. Over the years, the museum had lost its sense of identity in the neighborhood. The entrance had been moved to a side road, and there was no presence of a museum. The new design redefines the museum’s relationship with its surroundings by providing a main entrance on the original central axis, while 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.”
Michael Wurzel, Partner, Foster + Partners commented: “Just like an artist studies a piece of stone before turning it into a piece of sculpture, the transformation of the Norton Museum of Art was inspired by its context – the light and flora of Florida, as well as the setting of the original gallery. The new museum and the surrounding landscape have been delicately interwoven to form a unified ensemble that will be a new landmark for West Palm Beach.”
A new street frontage and entrance on South Dixie Highway to the west redefines the museum’s relationship with the city. One of the main protagonists for the design of the new entrance plaza is an iconic Banyan tree that was planted when the museum was first built. The extension’s new shimmering roof curves around the tree canopy, uniting the entire ensemble while sheltering the entrance plaza. Behind the canopy, three new double-height pavilions mediate the low-rise galleries and the existing three-story Nessel Wing, unifying the whole composition with a shared palette of white, horizontally-banded stucco.
The pavilions house a state-of-the-art auditorium, the Great Hall, which will be the new social heart for the local community, an event space, education center, museum shop and restaurant that provides shaded outdoor seating overlooking the garden. Creating a focus is Claes Oldenburg’s iconic Typewriter Eraser, Scale X (1999) sculpture, floating over a reflecting pool and signifying the museum’s expanded commitment to contemporary art.
The garden is an integral part of the masterplan, which seeks to enhance the experience of art by reinforcing the relationship between the building and the landscape that celebrates Florida’s rich and diverse flora. Taking advantage of the Florida climate, the landscaping of the gardens incorporates native trees and flowers to provide shaded walkways, and an intimate setting for visitors to enjoy the artwork.
The landscape forms the backdrop of the museum’s ongoing education program for schoolchildren, encouraging a greater awareness of the collection and Florida’s environmental heritage. The outdoor spaces provide a sustainable backdrop for displaying art providing a substantial increase in display areas. Corresponding to the canopies of the trees, large overhangs and shaded colonnades ensure that the intense sun light is kept out whilst the subtropical light and lush views can still be enjoyed as part of the visitor experience.
Spencer de Grey, Head of Design, Foster + Partners, added: “In the past, there was no outside space for visitors to enjoy, but now the perimeter of the museum’s expanded grounds is defined by a new landscape. The gardens impart a sense of identity to the Norton, connecting it to Florida’s lush subtropical vegetation, creating verdant spaces for art that extends the museum beyond its walls.”
The Norton Museum of Art Florida – Building Information
The Norton Museum of Art Florida, USA 2011 – 2019
Client: The Norton Museum of Art
Construction: February 2016
Completion: February 2019
Museum area (after expansion): 133,000 sqft (12,355.7m²)
Site Area: 230,000 sqft (21,367m²)
Gallery Space (total): 50,000 sqft (4,645m²)
Description: The transformation of the Norton Museum of Art restores the logic of the 1941 original, reasserting the clarity of the main axis by locating the new entrance along the main South Dixie Highway. It also seeks to enhance the experience of art by reinforcing the relationship between the building and the landscape and creating a new social focus for the community. By doubling the gallery space for the museum, it also lays the foundations for future growth to become Florida’s leading cultural institution. The new West Wing is the first phase of a masterplan that will transform the Norton’s 6.3-acre campus, improving the accessibility and openness of the museum.
Design Features: The main entrance of the museum will be relocated to the west to create a welcoming presence on South Dixie Highway. It will feature a new entry forecourt covered with a 43-foot-high, sharp-edged metal canopy. A scalloped-shaped cutout in the canopy will accommodate an 80-year-old, 65foot-tall banyan tree. A serene reflecting pool will greet visitors and mask traffic sounds from the Highway. The new garden invites visitors to enjoy works of art drawing on the Floridian flora and light.
The 42,000 sqft West Wing is defined by four multi-story pavilions, clad in articulated stucco, which contain: • The new 210-seat, state-of-the-art Stiller Family Foundation Auditorium, offering films, lectures, and concerts • The Jane and Leonard Korman Room Event Space • The new Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Restaurant, with garden-facing terrace seating
At the centre will be the Ruth and Carl Shapiro Great Hall, a 3,600 sqft sky-lit space with lounge seating, a coffee bar, a
piano, book shelves, temporary commissioned art installations, and a 280 sqft window admitting light filtered by the banyan tree’s leaves and branches.
The Norton’s gallery space will increase by 12,000 sqft, a growth of 35% in space for its permanent collection and inventive special exhibition program.
The 4,000-square-foot William Randolph Hearst Education Center will be more than one-and-a-half times the size of the Norton’s existing education space, with two new classrooms and a student gallery.
The New Norton Garden: The existing car parking was removed to create a landscaped garden that surrounds the museum
Taking advantage of the Florida climate, the landscaping of the gardens and central courtyard incorporates native trees and flowers to provide shaded walkways, and a new Great Lawn.
Glimpsed through a colonnade on the southern edge of the building, this provides an open-air venue for ‘Art After Dark’, the Norton’s popular evening program, as well as live performances and events. The new landscape creates a series of ‘garden rooms’ arranged axially along the Southern edge of the museum.
Native trees form the majority of new planting, with 82 new mature trees being introduced to the site.
West Wing: 42,000 sqft (3,902m²)
Garden area: 37,200 sqft (3,456m²)
Auditorium: 3,700 sqft (344m²) 210-seat capacity
Restaurant & Private Dining (kitchen, indoor and outdoor seating): 7,200 sqft (669m²)
Great Hall: 3,600 sqft (334m²) 360-people capacity
Education Centre: 4,000 sqft (371.6m²)
Event Lawn: 9,000 sqft (836m²)
Administrative offices: 12,000 sqft (1,115m²)
Number of Floors: 1-3
Structural System: Steel frame and concrete masonry unity (CMU) shear walls. Steel trusses cantilever canopy structure. Stucco façade with aluminium profiles.
Materials: Stucco Low iron glass Polished aluminium roof
Phase 2 Additional 24,000 square feet of exhibition space
The Norton Museum of Art Florida – Credits
Project: The Norton Museum of Art Florida, USA 2011 – 2019
Client: The Norton Museum of Art
Architect: Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners Design Team: Norman Foster, Spencer de Grey
David Summerfield, Michael Wurzel, Alessandro Angelelli, Bjorn Andersson, Rebekah Hieronymus, Tandorn Prakobpol, Eleonora Rosselli, Yasuhiro Tohdoh
Collaborating Architect: CBT Architects
Structural Engineer: MKA
Mechanical Engineer: Bury
Garden Design: Foster + Partners/ EDSA
Lighting Consultant: George Sexton Associates
Signage: Roll Barresi & Associates
Acoustic and Audio Visual Consultant: Acentech
Cost Consultant: Gardiner & Theobald
Construction Manager: Gilbane
Photographs: Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Location: Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Miami, FL, USA
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Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA