Joslyn Art Museum announces plans for redesign and new addition – KC STUDIO


East elevation view of the new 42,000 square foot Rhonda and Howard Hawks Pavilion at Joslyn Art Museum designed by international architectural firm Snøhetta, in partnership with Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture of Omaha (Moare)

The Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha has announced plans for a redesign and second addition to its original memorial building.

The design of the 42,000 square foot Rhonda and Howard Hawks Pavilion, named after the private Omaha-based foundation and major donors, will be led by international architectural firm Snøhetta, in partnership with Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture from Omaha.

Snøhetta’s best-known creations include the award-winning New Library in Alexandria, Egypt, and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo.

The iconic Joslyn Memorial Building, built in 1921, was designed by the architectural team of Omaha father and son John and Alan McDonald and was a gift to the city of Omaha from Sarah Joslyn in memory of her husband, George, and their common interest in art and music.

Clad in Georgia Pink marble and featuring a grand entrance from an exterior staircase, the Art Deco building was completed in 1994 with modern design by British architect Norman Foster – the Walter and Suzanne Scott Pavilion. Two new sculpture gardens were added in 2009.

The new addition will include daylit galleries, expanding the museum’s existing gallery space by more than a third, as well as new classrooms and community spaces to support increased public programs.

It will extend outward from the current glass atrium in a curved, floating, low-slung design whose exterior walls will gradually be transformed from glass to solid vertical stone.

The transparent first floor will house a new atrium, a museum store and a multi-functional community space. The solid second floor will house the new galleries.

The architects drew their vision from the regional context of the building. As Aaron Dorf, director and architect of Snøhetta, explains: “The weightlessness effect of the expansion is inspired by the striking cloud formations that cover the great plains as well as the deep overhangs and horizontal expression of the regional prairie-style architecture ”.

The plan also includes a major overhaul of the site’s more than three acres of public gardens and open spaces, including a new elevated sculpture garden showcasing the existing installation “The Omaha Riverscape” by sculptor Jesús Moroles. A new point of public arrival and entry will be anchored in an atrium named in honor of Phillip G. Schrager (1937-2010), an entrepreneur and art collector from Omaha who amassed a collection of world-class contemporary art. After his death, his wife Terri Schrager donated 52 pieces from the Phillip G. Schrager contemporary art collection to the museum, raising Joslyn’s profile on the international museum scene.

Museum Executive Director and CEO Jack Becker comments on the impact of the new project: “Snøhetta’s energetic and inspired work on our expansion into the 21st century has set the stage for the next phase of the museum’s life while honoring its historical past. This project will allow us to show more art, accommodate more people, enhance the experience of museum visitors and strengthen community ties in a space that will undoubtedly become one of the most famous and most famous buildings. most popular in the region.

The addition and redesign is expected to be completed in 2024, which will require the museum to close from May 2022. For more information on the Joslyn Project, visit:


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