SCAD Museum of Art draws national praise

There’s a great piece this week in Architect magazine about the Savannah College of Art & Design’s recently expanded Museum of Art.

It begins:

Savannah, Ga., known as one of America’s oldest and best-designed cities, finds itself straddling technological innovation and old-world elegance with the thoughtful redesign of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art. The fluid space includes a new 65,000-square-foot expansion off of the original 1856 Greek Revival museum building, and the resulting institution exalts both historicity and new technology.

Christian Sottile, AIA, of local firm Sottile & Sottile, the lead designer of the expanded museum, worked with a core team—including SCAD co-founder and president Paula Wallace—and used charrettes to help guide the early design process. From the outset, the redesign, which won a CNU Charter Award this year, envisioned increasing Savannah’s architectural significance as America’s largest registered urban Historic Landmark District, with a mélange of historical preservation and contemporary innovation.

From the Congress for the New Urbanism in March:

Once a center of freight commerce, the district was populated with railroad buildings and freight warehouses – some have been adaptively rehabilitated, others lost. Today, the site is surrounded by open urban land and aging, auto-oriented commercial development from the mid-20th century.

The area is primed for urban expansion. Yet due to its utilitarian past, it lacks the fine-grained urbanism and pedestrian scale of Savannah’s core.

The project thus strove not only to introduce a civic structure into the neighborhood, but also to establish a high quality public realm, setting the precedent for humane urbanism as the district evolves and adapts to the 21st century.

There are some nice images at both sites, but I’ll append photos that I took at the press event just before its opening last year. What a great addition to the city.

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