Museum Expansion Receives High Honor
AIA Connecticut Recognizes the Hill-Stead Museum Visitor Center with the Elizabeth Mills Brown Award
Centerbrook Architects today announced that its adaptive reuse of historic outbuildings at the Hill-Stead Museum received the 2021 Elizabeth Mills Brown Excellence Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The award recognizes design excellence in the restoration, rehabilitation, adaptation, and reuse of historic structures.
The project, which converted former stables and a carriage house on the 152-acre property, creates a new Visitors Center that enhances the variety and quality of the patron experience. The Hill-Stead Museum is home to an extensive collection of furnishings and Impressionist art collected by the family of pioneering early 20th century architect Theodate Pope Riddle.
“We’re so proud that the Connecticut AIA and Preservation Connecticut recognized the Visitors Center with the Elizabeth Mills Brown Award,” said Charles G. Mueller, AIA of Centerbrook. “It was a true labor of love, one that we hope serves to educate and inspire all who venture to the Hill-Stead for its astounding beauty and peerless collections,” he said.
The 7,000-square-foot building expands the museum’s offerings with new galleries that meet museum-level standards for light, temperature, and humidity control. In particular, Centerbrook took care to integrate new systems, finishes, and windows while preserving and enhancing the building’s appearance.
“This project made an already exciting place even more exciting,” the awards jury noted. “The elegant integration of new design with old allows expansion of museum programming and gives the historic outbuildings the care and attention usually devoted only to a main building,” it continued.
The Visitors Center was completed in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the State Historic Preservation Office. Centerbrook’s design collaborators included BVH/Salas O’Brien and George Sexton Associates. PAC Group provided construction management services.
Centerbrook Architects and Planners was conceived in 1975 as a community of architects working together to advance place-making and the craft of building. A collaborative firm with an exceptional history of building, Centerbrook is known for inventive design solutions that are emblematic of its clients. Centerbrook’s designs have won more than 400 awards, including the Architecture Firm Award.
“This project made an already exciting place even more exciting. The elegant integration of new design with old ... gives the historic outbuildings the care and attention usually devoted only to a main building,” Elizabeth Mills Brown Awards Jury