Drexel University | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A generous gift from the Westphal family in 2002 inspired Drexel University to undertake a restoration of their historic gallery in honor of its centennial anniversary. We first researched the gallery’s history and documented its existing condition as part of a feasibility study to produce three potential scenarios for how the design improvements could unfold, providing all the information necessary for university stakeholders to decide on a final scope.
Ultimately, the university opted to restore the interior to its original design intent while creating a new display for their growing collection in an adjacent hall that also connects the gallery to its support space. Intensive paint analysis informed our color selection for re-creating the original design. The monumental laylight with gilded trusses was returned to its original grandeur and the hardwood floors were restored. We also designed the installation of the collection in a scheme that recalls the original crowded arrangement but gives each piece ‘room to breathe’ and also managed their pre-installation cleaning.
The main gallery, which was outfitted with subtle AV/IT systems, has become an impressive event venue and serves as the initial point of reception for prospective students.Concealed smoke detectors and lighting behind the laylight and in the coves prepare the room for different types of uses. Wiring was carefully channeled through the floor to connect to a movable podium (custom-designed by VMA). Behind it, a portion of the existing cornice was modified to accommodate a large projection screen to be lowered for presentations.
Size: 2,500 sf
Architecture, Interior Design, Historical Preservation