Launch Slideshow

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The SCAD Museum of Art

The SCAD Museum of Art

  • The newly expanded SCAD Museum of Art is sited on a series of plazas that run between the building and the neighboring School of Architecture.

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    The newly expanded SCAD Museum of Art is sited on a series of plazas that run between the building and the neighboring School of Architecture.

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    Alex Fradkin

    The newly expanded SCAD Museum of Art is sited on a series of plazas that run between the building and the neighboring School of Architecture.

  • On top of the southern, plaza-facing entrance is a terrace that is adjacent to the buildings signature glass tower.

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    On top of the southern, plaza-facing entrance is a terrace that is adjacent to the buildings signature glass tower.

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    Alex Fradkin

    On top of the southern, plaza-facing entrance is a terrace that is adjacent to the building’s signature glass tower.

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    Courtesy Sottile & Sottile

  • At the western edge of the site stand the reinforced brick walls of one of the sites historic structures. No longer enclosed, the planted area serves as outdoor gallery and gathering space.

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    At the western edge of the site stand the reinforced brick walls of one of the sites historic structures. No longer enclosed, the planted area serves as outdoor gallery and gathering space.

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    Alex Fradkin

    At the western edge of the site stand the reinforced brick walls of one of the site’s historic structures. No longer enclosed, the planted area serves as outdoor gallery and gathering space.

  • View back toward the SCAD Museum expansion (including the lit tower) from the outdoor event space at night.

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    View back toward the SCAD Museum expansion (including the lit tower) from the outdoor event space at night.

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    Alex Fradkin

    View back toward the SCAD Museum expansion (including the lit tower) from the outdoor event space at night.

  • The tower rises from grade on the buildings north side and is composed of individual interlocking structural glass channels. Each glass channel is held in place with mechanical clips and then sealed with clear silicone.

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    The tower rises from grade on the buildings north side and is composed of individual interlocking structural glass channels. Each glass channel is held in place with mechanical clips and then sealed with clear silicone.

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    Alex Fradkin

    The tower rises from grade on the building’s north side and is composed of individual interlocking structural glass channels. Each glass channel is held in place with mechanical clips and then sealed with clear silicone.

  • To preserve the existing historic structure that is incorporated into the SCAD Museum addition, glass panels are affixed over archways to enclose the space without blocking the exhibitions from view.

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    To preserve the existing historic structure that is incorporated into the SCAD Museum addition, glass panels are affixed over archways to enclose the space without blocking the exhibitions from view.

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    Alex Fradkin

    To preserve the existing historic structure that is incorporated into the SCAD Museum addition, glass panels are affixed over archways to enclose the space without blocking the exhibitions from view.

  • Tower section

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    Tower section

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    Courtesy Sottile & Sottile

    Tower section

  • Tower corner detail

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    Tower corner detail

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    Courtesy Sottile & Sottile

    Tower corner detail

  • View into the channel-glass-enclosed tower from the museum lobby.

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    View into the channel-glass-enclosed tower from the museum lobby.

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    Alex Fradkin

    View into the channel-glass-enclosed tower from the museum lobby.

  • Inside the museum, the louver-covered southern façade encloses a hallway and runs the length of the 65,000-square-foot addition. This passage admits daylight and offers access to many of the new galleries, which are demarcated by arches preserved from the walls of the 1853 rail depot. The depot and existing museum building are National Historic Landmarks.

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    Inside the museum, the louver-covered southern façade encloses a hallway and runs the length of the 65,000-square-foot addition. This passage admits daylight and offers access to many of the new galleries, which are demarcated by arches preserved from the walls of the 1853 rail depot. The depot and existing museum building are National Historic Landmarks.

    600

    Alex Fradkin

    Inside the museum, the louver-covered southern façade encloses a hallway and runs the length of the 65,000-square-foot addition. This passage admits daylight and offers access to many of the new galleries, which are demarcated by arches preserved from the walls of the 1853 rail depot. The depot and existing museum building are National Historic Landmarks.

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    Courtesy Sottile & Sottile

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    Courtesy Sottile & Sottile

  • The museums new galleries combine pristine spaces for displaying art with remnants of the original structure, including historic masonry walls, hand-formed period Savannah Gray Brick, and original European oak flooring from the sites 1853 rail depot.

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    The museums new galleries combine pristine spaces for displaying art with remnants of the original structure, including historic masonry walls, hand-formed period Savannah Gray Brick, and original European oak flooring from the sites 1853 rail depot.

    600

    Alex Fradkin

    The museum’s new galleries combine pristine spaces for displaying art with remnants of the original structure, including historic masonry walls, hand-formed period Savannah Gray Brick, and original European oak flooring from the site’s 1853 rail depot.

  • Designed to house permanent and temporary exhibitions, the galleries can be configured for painting, sculpture, or installations.

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    Designed to house permanent and temporary exhibitions, the galleries can be configured for painting, sculpture, or installations.

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    Alex Fradkin

    Designed to house permanent and temporary exhibitions, the galleries can be configured for painting, sculpture, or installations.

  • The lobby features an interactive table that visitors can use to explore the museum's exhibitions and permanent collection.

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    The lobby features an interactive table that visitors can use to explore the museum's exhibitions and permanent collection.

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    Alex Fradkin

    The lobby features an interactive table that visitors can use to explore the museum's exhibitions and permanent collection.

  • Individual card on the table's LCD surface can be moved, resized, and flipped over to reveal slideshows and more detailed exhibition information.

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    Individual card on the table's LCD surface can be moved, resized, and flipped over to reveal slideshows and more detailed exhibition information.

    600

    Alex Fradkin

    Individual card on the table's LCD surface can be moved, resized, and flipped over to reveal slideshows and more detailed exhibition information.

  • Behind the table, stairs lead to the second floor studio spaces, which accomodate both art and education programs.

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    Behind the table, stairs lead to the second floor studio spaces, which accomodate both art and education programs.

    600

    Alex Fradkin

    Behind the table, stairs lead to the second floor studio spaces, which accomodate both art and education programs.

  • A second-floor studio accomodates gathering space under a ceiling-mounted installation.

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    A second-floor studio accomodates gathering space under a ceiling-mounted installation.

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    Alex Fradkin

    A second-floor studio accomodates gathering space under a ceiling-mounted installation.

 

Savannah, Ga., known as one of America’s oldest and best-designed cities, finds itself straddling technological innovation and old-world elegance with the thoughtful redesign of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art. The fluid space includes a new 65,000-square-foot expansion off of the original 1856 Greek Revival museum building, and the resulting institution exalts both historicity and new technology.

Christian Sottile, AIA, of local firm Sottile & Sottile, the lead designer of the expanded museum, worked with a core team—including SCAD co-founder and president Paula Wallace—and used charrettes to help guide the early design process. From the outset, the redesign, which won a CNU Charter Award this year, envisioned increasing Savannah’s architectural significance as America’s largest registered urban Historic Landmark District, with a mélange of historical preservation and contemporary innovation. “The site was previously considered a hazard for passersby before the project began,” Wallace says. “As we sifted through piles of 19th-century Savannah Gray Bricks to lay the foundation of our new museum, we unearthed Civil War–era épaulettes and ammunition shells buried there among the rubble.”

The existing museum building once served as the headquarters for the Central of Georgia Railway. The new addition incorporates the remnants of the rail depot next door, which was built circa 1853, and features that building’s original European oak flooring as well as 70,000 repurposed bricks originally handmade by slaves hundreds of years ago. An insulated-concrete-form system was employed where walls were constructed behind the historic masonry; stainless steel helical ties were driven through the Savannah Gray Brick and into the forms; and concrete was poured to secure the ties and support the historic structure. “In terms of construction, the fragile state of the ruins presented a significant challenge: staging a major construction project within the remaining perimeter of historic brick walls that would rely upon the new structure to provide permanent stabilization,” Sottile says. “The result is a continuous oscillation between new construction and historic preservation. Ecologically, the reuse and reinterpretation of the existing historic fabric was our most compelling strategy. We believe it will have global relevance in the decades ahead.”

To further offset history, the lobby boasts a 12-foot-long, virtual orientation-center touchscreen, designed by Pentagram and mounted as a table, that is the largest of its kind. “It reflects the dialogue of the real and the humane with the virtual, to forge a post-digital-era hybrid of craft and technology,” Sottile says.

The main entrance, which lies at the intersection of two city streets, bisects the building, creating two wings. The east wing consists of galleries, art studios, and classrooms, as well as the Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies, designed to house one of the most prominent collections of African-American art in the world. The west wing houses a 250-seat theater used for lectures and cultural programming. The structure is punctuated by a single vertical element marking the main entrance of the museum—a semitransparent channel-glass-encased tower. It is the first time that channel glass has been used this way. “It was … [designed] in horizontal confluences not requiring additional support and is able to withstand the impact of hurricane winds,” Sottile says. It also forms an identifying landmark for the museum, since it is the first addition to a civic landmark on the Savannah skyline in nearly 100 years.

On opening night, the gargantuan touchscreen table doubled as an interactive point of entry and a repository for empty champagne glasses—and reminded onlookers that, while firmly rooted in the dramatic history of its ancestors, the city is also gliding into the contemporary. As the party went into full swing, Paula Wallace announced to the crowd: “Alice Walker once said, … if art doesn’t make us better, then what is it for?” And the cheering drifted gently through the tree-lined streets.


Project Credits

Project The SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Ga.
Client Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Architect Sottile & Sottile and Lord Aeck & Sargent, in association with Dawson Architects—Christian Sottile, AIA, Joe Greco, AIA, Neil Dawson, AIA (principals)
Interior Designer SCAD Design Group—Paula Wallace, Glenn Wallace
Mechanical Engineer Newcomb & Boyd
Structural Engineer W. Hunter Saussy III
Electrical Engineer Newcomb & Boyd
Civil Engineer Wolverton & Associates
Geotechnical Engineer Terracon
General Contractor Carson Skanska
Landscape Architect Sottile & Sottile, SCAD Design Group, Wolverton & Associates, The Nelson Group
Lighting Designer SCAD Design Group, Lord Aeck & Sargent, Sottile & Sottile
Museum Consultant Quenroe & Associates
Audio Acoustics & Production Technology Consultant James S. Brawley & Associates
Interactive Media Table Design Pentagram
Size 82,118 square feet
Cost $26 million

Materials and Sources

Acoustical System AcousTex Specialty Products acoustex.net; Pinta Elements pinta-elements.com
Adhesives, Coatings, and Sealants
Dow Corning Corp. dowcorning.com
Appliances
WMF wmf.com; True Manufacturing Co. truemfg.com; The Vollrath Co. vollrathco.com; Vulcan vulcanequipment.com; Southbend southbendnc.com; Ice-O-Matic iceomatic.com; General Electric Co. geappliances.com; LG Electronics lg.com
Building Management Systems and Services
Siemens Building Technologies buildingtechnologies.siemens.com
Ceilings
USG Corp. usg.com; Armstrong armstrong.com
Concrete
Coastal Concrete Southeast II coastalconcrete.com; Lafarge lafargenorthamerica.com; Metromont Corp. metromont.com; ARXX Corp. arxx.com
Exterior Wall Systems
Historic Savannah Gray Brick (masonry walls); U.S. Heritage Group usheritage.com; Metromont Corp. metromont.com; ARXX Corp. arxx.com
Fabrics and Finishes
Carole Fabrics carolefabrics.com; SCAD Design Group (custom fixtures and furniture); Formica formica.com; Daltile daltile.com; IceStone icestoneusa.com
Flooring Itlas S.p.A. itlas.it; Tandus Flooring tandus.com; Lafarge lafargenorthamerica.com; Forbo Flooring Systems www.forboflooringna.com; Johnsonite johnsonite.com; EmilAmerica emilamerica.com; Savannah Hardscapes savannahhardscapes.com
Furniture
Izzy+ izzyplus.com; Knoll knoll.com; SCAD Design Group (custom art viewing tables); Steelcase steelcase.com; Bludot bludot.com; Arcanum Studios arcanumstudio.com; Nuno Erin nunoerin.com; Roche Bobois roche-bobois.com; Lee Industries leeindustries.com; South of Market southofmarket.biz
Glass
Technical Glass Products (Pilkington Profilit) tgpamerica.com; W&W Glass (Pilkington Planar) wwglass.com; Viracon viracon.com
Gypsum
USG Corp. usg.com
HVAC
Mingledorff’s mingledorffs.com; Carrier Corp. carrier.com; Munters munters.com
Lighting
Litelab Corp. litelab.com; Hydrel hydrel.com; Lithonia Lighting, an Acuity Brands Co. lithonia.com; Renaissance Lighting, an Acuity Brands Co. renaissancelighting.com; Sistemalux sistemalux.com; Arteriors Home arteriorshome.com; Circa Lighting circalighting.com
Lighting Control Systems
Electronic Theatre Controls etcconnect.com; Lutron Electronics Co. lutron.com
Masonry and Stone
Scottish Stone Craft scottishstonecraft.com; Savannah Hardscapes savannahhardscapes.com
Metal
Alcoa alcoa.com; J.M. Gruca architecturalglassrailings.com
Millwork
Savannah Millwork savannahmillwork.net; DuPont (Corian) dupont.com/corian
Paints and Finishes
The Sherwin-Williams Co. sherwin-williams.com; SCAD Design Group (reconditioned timber theater wall finish)
Plumbing and Water System Kohler Co. kohler.com; Zurn Industries zurn.com; Metpar Corp. metpar.com
Roofing
Firestone Building Products www.firestonebpco.com
Seating
KI ki.com; Design Within Reach dwr.com
Site and Landscape Products
Design Within Reach dwr.com; Lewis & Sheron Textiles lsfabrics.com; Kolo kolo.com; Landscape Forms landscapeforms.com; Belson Outdoors belson.com
Structural System
Steel Erectors steelerectorsinc.com
Wallcoverings
USF Graphicstudio (Trenton Doyle Hancock, limited edition screen printed wallpaper—Flower Bed II: A Prelude to Damnation) graphicstudio.usf.edu
Wayfinding
SCAD Design Group
Windows, Curtainwalls, and Doors Kawneer kawneer.com; Glass Systems glasssystems.biz; Graham Wood Doors, an Assa Abbloy Group Co. grahamdoors.com; McCarthy mccarthyinc.com