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National Coast Guard Museum


Shared By

Symone Garvett

Project Name

National Coast Guard Museum

Project Status

Concept Proposal


70,000 sq. feet


  • Charles Klee (Principal-in-Charge)

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Project Description


Design Concept
The National Coast Guard Museum is a maritime facility that engages the waterfront. Visitors of all ages will learn of the Coast Guard’s history and also its ongoing missions and activities. Leveraging its position along the Thames River, interactive exhibits will incorporate real-time monitoring of river traffic and in-water demonstrations. With this in mind, the building is designed to be open and transparent toward the river. A simple rectilinear volume behind this daylit gallery will provide flexible space for climate-controlled galleries, instructional spaces and an auditorium.

Program and Statistics
The building will house 3.5 floors of gallery and instructional space along with a penthouse mechanical floor with event space and roof deck. The design concept is very much in its infancy, but the building is anticipated to be approximately 70,000 – 80,000 GSF.

City Pier Plaza
Recognizing the prominence of this site and the importance of the train station to New London’s heritage, this project seeks to engage the plaza in order to make it a vibrant outdoor space suitable for a variety of events far beyond anything supporting the museum. The extended plaza will serve as a terminus to the river walk and facilitate connection to the new pedestrian bridge bringing visitors safely back to Water Street and into the heart of the city.

Resiliency and Sustainability
Following the Coast Guard’s mission for environmental stewardship, this building is intended to be storm-ready and friendly to the environment it inhabits. Because of this, we elevate the occupiable floors in the facility above the 500-year flood plain, and ensure that the lowest level is used only for building access and emergency exit. In order to keep energy use to a minimum, the design is exploring options for high-performance building envelopes, natural ventilation, solar panels and geothermal heat pump cooling. The building is targeting LEED Platinum certification.

Pedestrian Connector and Ferry Terminal
To the north of the museum, the project will include a new pedestrian connector serving the Parking Garage, Water Street, Amtrak and the waterfront. The bridge will traverse the tracks above the Amtrak power lines, but will be connected to the museum entrance and City Pier Plaza level via stairs and elevators to provide a fully accessible path to the waterfront. Further to the north, the project will integrate with Cross Sound Ferry’s proposed ferry terminal as this design evolves in parallel to the museum.

Waterfront Engagement
Beginning with the anticipated mooring of the Barque Eagle at the City Pier, the museum will engage seamlessly with the waterfront. The renovated plaza will facilitate bringing visitors right to the water’s edge in order to witness and participate in demonstrations and other educational activities.

Bank Street View
The newly renovated Parade Plaza marks the heart of downtown New London. The Museum’s proximity to this precinct is important for its role as an economic driver and attraction, but it is essential that the new facility remain secondary to the train station — one of New London’s key icons. From this side, the design of the museum creates a neutral foil for the train station ensuring its primacy.

Pedestrian Connector
The pedestrian connector to the north of the train station is intended to provide safe access from the parking garage across Water Street and the Amtrak rails. It strives to be distinct and remote from the historic train station while still serving Amtrak passengers who need access to rails in both directions as well as ticket sales. Architecturally the bridge design will seek lightness and transparency particularly towards the south. It will afford dramatic views over New London’s historic district and hopefully encourage visitors to explore further into the business district.
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