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Staten Island Museum

One of five connected historic buildings at Snug Harbor, Building A is a former sailor’s dormitory that was renovated to provide a new home for New York City’s only general collection museum. The galleries display works, objects and artifacts from the Museum’s art, natural science and history collections.

The neo-classical building is listed on the National Historic Register as well as those of New York City and New York State. Because of the listings, significant changes to the building’s exterior were not permitted. To achieve the environmental conditions established by the AMA, we upgraded the building envelope by installing a new liner inside the exterior walls constructed of brick masonry and Tuckahoe marble. New interior windows with thermally-broken frames and insulated glass units maintain the integrity of the liner’s thermal and moisture barriers, while preserving views of the historic wood windows whose wood surrounds with integral shutters were restored. Scrim shades along with the shutters are used to control the amount of daylight in the galleries.

The cross-axial diagram that characterized the historic interior was retained, but our structural intervention allowed for large, generous galleries to be created at both ends of the building. The cruciform hallway at the center of the building reinforces its axial layout. The historic stair, new fire stair, elevator, and restrooms are located in the four corners that define the hallway. The installation of fire-rated glass entrances to the adjacent galleries allows the cast-iron stair to remain open while also serving as an egress stair, preserving valuable space for exhibition.

A geothermal well field provides cooling and heating for the building and was a critical component to the project being certified LEED Gold. The location and installation of the wells required coordination with the city’s Parks Department which oversees the grounds and landscape of the Snug Harbor campus.

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