Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, Massachusetts, 2003

The Peabody Essex Museum, constructed in several phases over the past 200 years, is the oldest continuously operating museum in the United States. The objectives of the recent major expansion and reorganization were to create an architecturally dramatic addition emblematic of the institution’s new identity as a center of art and culture; to unify a disparate group of buildings and join them with newly doubled gallery space; and to present the museum to visitors as a coherent, welcoming whole. To that end, a curved, glazed arcade aligned over the existing Liberty Street forms the spine of the new wing and, with a courtyard, weaves together the old and new buildings. A series of two-level, houselike galleries, scaled to echo Salem’s historic residential fabric, is strung along the east side of the arcade; these structures are spaced to allow natural light into both the lower and upper floors. The distinct silhouette of each roofline indicates a unique interior space.

Project Type: Museum

Client: Peabody Essex Museum

Cost: $54 million

Size: 101000