"The high quality of this project deserves special recognition. The building fits extremely well within the site."
Jury comments, SARA 2003 Design Award of Merit.

This project adds a 9,500 square foot new art gallery building to an existing house on the grounds of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the storied home of the Lyme Art Colony, one of the principal locales for Impressionism in America.

The addition contains a lobby, a museum gift shop, bathrooms, three art galleries, art storage, a conservation studio, a study center, and loading dock. It connects to the Marshfield House, a twentieth- century residence on a site overlooking the Lieutenant River, making, with it, a single facility that provides new space for art, visitor services, and administrative offices.

The historic core of the museum grounds is Miss Florence's house, which faces Lyme Street to the south. This Late Georgian building housed artists who came to the colony in the early-twentieth century. Nearby archeological excavations and research have uncovered locations of such additional elements as Miss Florence's vegetable and cutting gardens, Childe Hassam's painting studio, various outbuildings, and an orchard. All of these elements are being restored or recreated to bring to life the historic landscape of the Colony in the area between Lyme Street and the Lieutenant River. West of Miss Florence's house, a new entry road has been introduced to bring visitors to the grounds, the new gallery building, and visitor parking without disturbing the historic landscape.

The new addition uses white sheds and gables to house art in a memorable yet simple New England manner. Curvilinear walls on either side of a trio of gable-roofed sheds help differentiate this new structure from the Marshfield House. A pair of octagonal elements at its east corner house the museum gift shop and the reception desk. The three galleries soar upwards through large shading devices towards structural skylights, giving them the luminous quality of natural light the Lyme Art Colony was known for, but without the damaging effects of ultra-violet intrusion.

Sebastian Smee, Art critic for the Boston Globe, on Twitter:


Photography © Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Derek Hayn