Drexel University | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A generous gift from the Westphal family in 2002 inspired Drexel to commission a feasibility study and subsequent execution of the restoration of their historic gallery at its centennial anniversary. The interior was restored to its original design intent while creating a new display for the growing collection. The room has become an impressive events space and serves as the initial point of reception for prospective students. The adjacent hall was included to provide expanded display areas and connect the gallery to its support space.
We researched the gallery’s history and documented its existing condition before offering three potential scenarios for how the improvements could unfold, providing all the information necessary for university stakeholders to decide on a final scope.
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 designed the installation of the collection, and had the paintings cleaned, to recall the original crowded arrangement but gives each piece ‘room to breathe.’ 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