The Philadelphia Museum of Art is sited on the axis of Benjamin Franklin Parkway that connects the city center with Fairmount Park, the largest urban park in the world. Many prominent institutions and notable buildings line the great diagonal boulevard to create a remarkable cultural corridor. Located adjacent to the Museum is the Perelman Building, formerly the headquarters of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company, designed in 1927 by Zantzinger, Borie, and Medary, and considered today as the most significant example of Art Deco style architecture in the city.
Project Name: Perelman Auditorium, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Studio Name: MGA Partners
Project Size: 4000 ft2
Site Size: 4000 ft2
Completion Date: 2018
Building Levels: 1
Location: Philadelphia, United States
Photography: Halkin | Mason Photography
The new Auditorium restores the commanding views of the Parkway by opening up the (formerly blocked) flanking rows of historic windows. With transparency restored between the urban park setting and the gathering within, the space is repurposed to become a room that reconnects to the city.
The design concept is to create a singular space as an insertion of contemporary elements within the richly detailed historic building. Each element has a different functional purpose that is represented in color and volume.
There is a terraced podium of seats that gathers the audience, a tech cube that composes the space, a proscenium frame that focuses the room, a textured scrim that adjusts the ceiling plane, and new acoustic wall panels that redefine the enclosure. In keeping with the rich details of metal and millwork found in lobbies and public spaces throughout, the auditorium relies upon artisan craft of the new elements.