David Chipperfield Architects won an international competition for the expansion of the Anchorage Museum of History & Art in Alaska in 2003. The expanded Museum will provide a new home for approximately 1000 exhibits from the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center collection in Washington, DC, the Imaginarium science discovery centre for children, along with the reorganisation of the Museum’s existing art and history collections. The new Museum will adopt an integrated approach to the exhibition of Alaskan and circumpolar North culture through the display of objects across the disciplines of science, history and art. The project will be carried out in collaboration with Seattle based landscape architect Charles Anderson and New York exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum. The Museum site comprises of three components as part of an overall masterplan: the existing museum building, a new extension building and a landscaped urban park. The organisation of the new building is based on five linear volumes of varying length and height arranged along the western face of the existing building. This arrangement will address the shortcomings of the existing Museum by forming a new faÁade and entrance facing downtown Anchorage. The new building will offer windows into which the activity of the Museum is observed. The visitor, from within, will be re-orientated to the city context and its extraordinary natural setting beyond. Continuity of external surfaces, both conceptually and technically, has led us to use a glass curtain wall system for the facade. The depth of the entire faÁade will be a consistent 1’-0”. Within this depth, we will have the capability to vary the composition of solid and clear layers of glass and thermal barriers to produce different degrees of opacity and transparency. The definition of internal spaces contributes to the overall arrangement of the new building’s five volumes. The object nature of the Museum’s existing and new collection provides the opportunity to eschew the anonymous white gallery aesthetic towards a more meaningful and intense experience for the Museum’s visitors. The exposition of each volume’s independent concrete structure generates a framework for display and exhibition vitrines that at the same time define a series of stacked linear galleries on four levels.
Client: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center
Competition Date: 2003
Completion Date: 2009
Design Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Gross Floor Area: 8400m2
Architect of Record: Kumin Associates Inc.
Associate Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Structural Engineer of Record: BBFM Engineers, Inc.
Services Engineers: Affiliated Engineers NW Inc. / RSA Engineering Inc.
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
Facade Consultants: W.J.Higgins and Associates Inc.
Lighting Consultants: George Sexton Associates
Exhibition Designers: Ralph Appelbaum Associates
Landscape Architects: Charles Anderson Landscape Architects / Earthscape
General Contractor: Alcan General Inc.
Client Advisors: RISE Alaska / PACE