Michigan Museum Of Art (UMMA)
The expansion of the University of Michigan Museum of Art extends the programs and spaces of the historic Alumni Memorial Hall into the life and energy of the surrounding campus.
Located in the “historic forty,” the new addition occupies the last buildable site on the original campus. It completes the primary public facade of the University, joining Angell Hall by Albert Kahn with the current Beaux-Arts style museum building by Donaldson and Meier Architects, completed in 1910.
Built as a memorial for University of Michigan graduates killed or wounded in several American wars, Alumni Memorial Hall is a solemn and introverted building, which has been restored to its original elegance.
Rising above the surrounding walks and lawn, the building is formed by three cantilevered walls of concrete and limestone. These radiating arms of structure reach out to hold three distinct landscape rooms: to the south, a new entry court with Alumni Memorial Hall; to the east, a cloistered sculpture court; to the north, a courtyard and pathway to the heart of campus.
Shells of steel and glass mediate the space of the courtyards, filtering light in to the galleries and circulation spaces. These veils of structure orient visitors by framing views to the landscape as they move through the museum, and animate the courtyards by revealing the activity within. The steel shells distinguish the public and private domains of the building while unifying the exterior and interior with light and life.
Entering the building visitors will find a dramatic, triple-height space where the three wings of the new building intersect. From any of the gallery wings, it will be possible to see across that core space into the other two wings, so that visitors will sense how the complexities of the space are resolved.
In contrast to the mass and solidity of Alumni Memorial Hall, the new building is open and transparent at the ground floor. Students moving along the “Diag,” a primary path through central campus, are engaged by galleries, classrooms and cafés.
Allied Works collaborated with the museum to plan and design the exhibition furniture. The design bridges the modern aesthetic of the expansion with the historical vocabulary of Alumni Memorial Hall.