Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art @ Utah State University
- Expansion Including New Entrance, Lobby, Galleries, Program Space & Collections Storage
- Logan, Utah
NEHMA’s collections, exhibits and programs have outgrown the original building designed by Edward Larabee Barnes in 1982. The museum’s collection of more than 5,000 objects is one of the largest in the Intermountain West region and represents a century of collecting by Utah State University. Works in all media by modern and contemporary artists provide an extensive overview of creative endeavors from 1900 to the present day, with an emphasis on objects made by artists living or working in the western half of the United States.
Museum and University leaders approach the museum as a laboratory of object learning and want to create a more accessible environment to welcome student from across the entire University community.
Selected with Sparano+Mooney Architects of Salt Lake City/Los Angeles, Walt Crimm has worked with museum and academic leadership as a partner with the design team to understand how to improve access – opening the museum both intellectually and physically. The design turns the building entrance around to open onto a new campus spine, providing a lounge-like lobby facing one of the main pedestrian entrances to campus.
A series of work sessions explored alternative ideas and connections between new and old, with the understanding that NEHMA was likely to be the first ‘art encounter’ of many students – so the barriers that were cultural were important to address in drawing students to an accessible environment.
This notion of openness guides all decisions, and by working closely with Museum leadership and staff, representatives from the President’s office, key donors and Facilities Planning a design solution emerged that addresses the complex connection respecting the original building while creating an efficiently organized museum of contemporary art.