Outside, this museum addition is clad in matte anodized-aluminum panels that subtly reflect the adjacent green hillside, while inside, hundreds of elliptical oculi provide full-spectrum daylight for the galleries. Phifer’s expansion is effectively one large room, subdivided with freestanding and movable partitions, creating an easy flow from space to space.

Jury: “From a distance, the building appears as a normal industrial building fitting into its context—upon approach it is an amazingly precise and elegant box.”

Client: “We were not interested in architectural bravado, but sought architectural excellence in executing a quiet, elegant, and stunning building which married art to nature. We also wanted to remove barriers to [create] a free-flowing democratic experience with art accessible by many entrances all on one level. Thomas Phifer created a stunning building, which expressed our collective goals brilliantly. The … [return on investment] is priceless. The spirit of the architect lives in every immaculate detail and infuses the space with breathtaking beauty.”  —Lawrence Wheeler, director, North Carolina Museum of Art