By blending the natural history of geological rock formations into its architectural design, the proposed addition to the Bruce Museum in Greenwich CT is both innovative and modern.
Blending Geology and Modernist Design at Bruce Museum
What does a striated muscle tissue or a geological rock formation have in common with the proposed 43,000 square foot addition to Greenwich’s Bruce Museum? Well, they have inspired the design of striated cast stone and glass façade of the proposed museum addition.
The Museum addition addresses a key part of the Museum’s permanent collection related to natural history of geological formations. Earth’s geological history involves natural cycles and how they change over time from tectonic plates to ocean tides and our own existence. The permanent collection explores Connecticut’s stone quarries and rock outcrops in an exhibition entitled “Natural Cycles Shape Our Land”. As a part of a major capital improvement program, this exhibition will soon become a multi-sensory expedition through the region’s rich natural history. The Museum addition will also address another part of Connecticut’s rich history which has to do with the modern movement in architecture. Midcentury modernism made famous by the works of modernist architects Philip Johnson and Marcel Breuer will find continuity in the proposed museum with its open interior spaces, elegant façade and machine aesthetic.
New Galleries and Free Access to Ground Floor
The Museum addition is designed by the noted architectural firm of Eskew Dumez Ripple out of New Orleans, which was selected through a competitive process. The proposed addition is scheduled to open in the fall of 2022. It will triple the space for temporary and permanent exhibitions of science and the entire ground floor of the museum will be free and open to public during museum’s operating hours. The ground floor will also be available for special-event use by local community groups, families and businesses. The museum will also have a restaurant which will offer indoor and outdoor dining facilities.
Landscape Architecture and Pedestrian Trails
Architecturally, the new addition is spacious and airy, more akin to the modern galleries and strikingly different from the historical museums consisting of smaller rooms separated by walls. Landscape architect Reed Hilderbrand has proposed a natural environment around the new Bruce Museum, which would include sculptures and pedestrian trails. I cannot wait to visit the museum’s addition when it opens in 2022 and visit new interactive galleries. The fundraising campaign for the New Bruce is underway. In the words of Peter C. Sutton, Director Emeritus, “The New Bruce will transform the Museum for our visitors and community – truly a peerless cultural asset for Greenwich and the region.”
Image Credit: KimonBerlin, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons