The expansion of this museum called for a response to several different groups, including museum visitors, art history students, artists, faculty, and administrators. Each had its own needs and requirements for access and security.

The triangular site presented a design obstacle, being too small and adjacent to a thirty-foot drop down a steep hillside. Another challenge was the requirement that the addition offer an interesting dialogue with the spectacular columned rotunda designed by Thomas Teft of Providence in 1846, and be shining in its own right.

The additions address each of these aspects of the program. An atrium built on the level ground south of the existing building acts as an in-between space open to all building users. Visitors come past a single control point for optimum security.

Museum galleries (on the top floor) and offices (on the entry floor) are easily closed off and made secure when the museum is closed. At the lower level, a large classroom is accessible for daytime or evening lectures, while the more private realms of slide-room and faculty offices can be closed during the evening. At the lowest level of the building, service spaces can be entered directly from the outdoors for maximum flexibility of use.

The character of the exterior is in keeping with its surroundings. Inside, the atrium is architecturally lively - a deliberate contrast with the more simple and calm spaces of the galleries, classrooms, and slide room, but a space that holds its own with Teft's rotunda.

Photography © Steve Rosenthal