Renowned Architect David Chipperfield Selected to Create New Master Plan for Penn Museum

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Media Contact:Pam Kosty | | 215-898-4045November 11, 2005

PHILADELPHIA -- The renowned British architect David Chipperfield has been selected to develop a comprehensive new master plan to take the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, its complex historical building and its international research, collections and educational outreach into the 21st century.

Chipperfield was selected following an international search by a committee of representatives of Penn Museum's Board of Overseers and staff, Penn's School of Design and Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services.

"The Penn Museum is one of the great treasures of the University, the city of Philadelphia, the region and the world," said  Amy Gutmann, Penn president.  "More than a century since its grand building first opened in 1899, now is an appropriate and exciting time to re-envision the Museum -- and to do so with an architect of such international stature."

"Museology, anthropological research and collections management practices have all changed radically since the Museum's first, grand-scale master plan of the 1890s," said  Richard M. Leventhal, Williams Director of Penn Museum.  "In the last decade, we've made enormous progress responding to long-term collections care needs and taking the first steps toward eventual Museum-wide air conditioning.  The time is right for a building master plan that lets us take advantage of our internationally renowned research, world-class collections and firm commitment to education in new, synergistic ways.  David Chipperfield's experience, philosophy and comprehensive planning approach can help us move forward."

London- and Berlin-based David Chipperfield Architects has won some of Europe's most prestigious commissions, including the master plan for Museum Island and the restoration of the Neues Museum in Berlin.  His U.S. projects include the recently announced expansion of the Saint Louis Art Museum; the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa; and the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.  This will be the first Philadelphia-area project for the architect.

The master planning that Chipperfield enters into with Penn and the Museum will be an intensive, year-long process that re-considers museum space in light of current and future objectives.  The final plan, which will include strategies for implementation, will provide a holistic vision for the Museum, a blending of new and old building elements to accommodate state-of-the-art exhibitions and research work and inspiration for scholars, students and the general public.  Chipperfield Architects will be partnering locally with Atkin Olshin Lawson-Bell Architects (architects of the Museum's Mainwaring Wing for collections study and storage, completed in 2002) and landscape architects Olin Partnership (architects of the Trescher Main Entrance garden and master planners for the University of Pennsylvania).  Keast & Hood Structural Engineers and Marvin Waxman Engineers (both of whom have experience working in Penn Museum) and cost consultant Davis Langdon round out the team.

From 1994 to 2004, under the leadership of Jeremy Sabloff, the previous Williams Director of the Museum, Penn Museum responded to pressing concerns about long-term collections management by building the $17 million Mainwaring Wing for collections storage and study, which opened in 2002.   In May 2005, the Museum completed the first phase of Project FARE  -- Future Air Conditioning, Renovation and Expansion; 20,000 additional square feet of museum space  with adequate room for an eventual air-conditioning system -- was constructed under the Upper Courtyard garden, which was refurbished and reopened.  In the summer of 2005, Atkin Olshin Lawson-Bell Architects completed a Historic Structures Report made possible by the Heritage Philadelphia Program and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Founded in 1887, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has a world-class collection of artifacts, many obtained through its own excavation work, from around the globe.  An active research institution, the Museum has led more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to every inhabited continent.  Educational programming has been an integral aspect of the Museum since its inception.  The Museum engages in educational outreach through in-house and traveling exhibitions, publications, an active school program, outreach lectures and a wide variety of programs geared to children, families and adults.