Designed between 1899 and 1929 by Wilson Eyre, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is an historic landmark that displays and stores vast archaeological artifacts but lacks any climate control for either the public or the collection. In spite of several additions over the years, the Museum also had no space to accommodate growth in programs. The challenge for this project was to create new space for major mechanical rooms and for the growth of the conservation department, DNA laboratory needs, photography, exhibition preparation, archives and miscellaneous support functions that have become overcrowded in recent years.
The design solution excavates the romantic “Italian” courtyard by underpinning the existing museum for the expansive new ground floor areas captured below the garden, creating new program and mechanical room space with skylights above work areas. The new garden, which also serves as a green roof atop the expansion, recreates the original courtyard ambiance.