As one of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s most frequently-hired architects, Bergmeyer, with its series of projects, has helped the MFA give new focus to existing spaces so that its storied facility on Huntington Avenue can support the institutional mission into the 21st century. Our collaboration began with the historic preservation of the Shapiro Colonnade and Rotunda, which returned the 1909 Beaux Arts space to its original splendor. Bergmeyer also designed multiple renovations and additions to the retail shops, restaurant, and information center in the 1981 I.M. Pei Wing. As a result of the Museum’s new Art of the Americas Wing and subsequent reprogramming of the Linde Family Wing, Bergmeyer designed three museum shops: a luxury boutique and the special exhibition shop in the original building and a complete renovation of the main museum store. Bergmeyer’s judicious reprogramming of valuable space allowed the MFA to reduce the museum store’s floor area and create new seminar rooms for the Museum’s robust educational program. These transformations also capitalized on the Museum’s expansion by locating the boutique gift shop – which sells curated collectibles and estate jewelry – in a previously underutilized space adjacent to the Museum’s popular new jewelry gallery.
The Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art/Druker Family Pavilion, located in the Museum’s West Wing, is the redevelopment of an existing 6,900-sf museum book and gift shop to accommodate two new community classrooms and a smaller more modern store.
The wing was redeveloped to exhibit the extensive modern art collection of the MFA. In support of the reprogramming of the museum,the existing store space was reconfigured to accommodate and extend both visitor experience (Retail) and educational mission (Classrooms) requirements. The store is now a 4,300-sf space focused on product directly related to the collection of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.
The design challenge was to reduce the footprint of the existing museum shop and add new two classrooms; while maintaining views and day-lighting from the existing courtyard, and the visual and aesthetic continuity of the 2-story gallery space. To accomplish this, the architectural language ties to the sharp edged modernity of the museum’s surrounding art gallery space. Lighting, color, and materials in the store and education spaces are natural extensions of the gallery. Linear slot lighting runs perpendicular to the glass storefront providing visual connection to the courtyard beyond. Builtin fixtures within the store’s book department are located along the west wall, and the majority of the remaining fixtures were kept low to open up the views in and through the store.
Minimal color is used throughout, respecting the simplicity of the museum. Overt wayfinding signage was not needed due to careful material selection and color choices to unify and connect the circulation space, the galleries, and the courtyard with the new store and classrooms.