University of Michigan Museum of Art | Notes of Interest

The purpose of the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) was to completely renovate and modernize the existing Alumni Hall, a 40,362 square foot facility, and build an additional 53,452 square feet of space in a dramatic new wing. Located at the gateway to the University’s main campus and at the physical intersection of the University and local communities, the Museum rests in a location offering the potential for direct engagement between the Museum, the student body and the general public.

The historic restoration and expansion is the realization of a long-held (over 50-year) dream to bring the Museum’s spaces up to par with its superb collection, exhibitions and programs. Housed in a 1910 Beaux-Arts structure that was able to exhibit only five percent of its holdings, the museum undertook an ambitious expansion campaign to more than double its overall size.

As a teaching museum with broad, near universal collections, the institution serves as a forum for the various academic disciplines of the University as well as a cultural portal for the community of Ann Arbor. While the existing building provides an atmosphere of seclusion, the new architecture achieves an immediacy with the surrounding campus - inviting and even provoking engagement with the building and its programs.

As the first purpose-built facility for the visual arts at the University of Michigan, the expansion becomes a new gateway to the historic museum – an open and inviting space that orients students and visitors to the experience of the art within.

Additional Credits

  • Associate Architect: Integrated Design Solutions
  • Curtain Wall: RA Heintges
  • Engineer: Atwell-Hicks (Civil); Arup (Mechanical); KPFF (Structural)
  • Waterproofing: SGH
  • Photo Credit: © Richard Barnes;© Jeremy Battermann;© Victoria Sambunaris

University of Michigan Museum of Art

Jury Comments

A new addition to an existing historic building reads as a new building and true to itself.

The prominence of the site and juxtaposition of the older bold with new bold is a strong symbol for the university protecting their past and looking towards the future.

2011 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • David Miller, FAIA, (Chair)
  • The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
  • Seattle
  • Ashley Clark, Assoc. AIA
  • LandDesign Inc.
  • Charlotte
  • Curtis Fentress, FAIA
  • Fentress Architects
  • Denver
  • T. Gunny Harboe, FAIA
  • Harboe Architect, PC
  • Chicago
  • David Neuman, FAIA
  • University of Virginia, University Architect
  • Charlottesville, Va.
  • Louis Pounders, FAIA
  • ANF Architects
  • Memphis
  • Sarah Snodgrass, AIAS Representative
  • Parsons The New School for Design
  • New York City
  • Allison Williams, FAIA
  • Perkins & Will
  • San Francisco
  • Jennifer Yoos, AIA
  • VJAA
  • Minneapolis

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