Drexel University | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A generous gift from the Westphal family inspired Drexel University to undertake a restoration of their historic gallery in honor of the university’s centennial. After VMA conducted a feasibility study on three potential scenarios on how to conduct the project, the university opted to restore the interior to its original design while creating a new display for its growing collection in an adjacent hall that also connects the gallery to its support space.
Our research consisted of intensive paint analysis, which enabled us to recreate the original colors, and a thorough research of the gallery’s history while our design addressed the need for modern systems in the building.
A monumental laylight with gilded trusses was returned to its original grandeur. Hardwood floors were restored. We also designed the installation of the collection, after a pre-installation cleaning, in a scheme that recalls the original crowded arrangement but gives each piece “room to breathe.” Outfitted with subtle AV/IT systems, the main gallery has become an impressive event venue and serves as the initial point of reception for prospective students. Concealed smoke detectors and lighting behind the daylight and in the coves prepare the room for different types of uses. Wiring was carefully channeled through the floor to connect to a moveable 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