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Project description: 

The Concept

Founded in 1989, The James A. Michener Museum occupies the site of the former Bucks County Prison built in 1884 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA. Today, it is a place dedicated to the artistic and cultural heritage of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

As part of an expansion project, the museum wanted to develop an Event Pavilion that would host lectures, seminars, musical performances, and receptions.

Initially, the museum envisioned placing the pavilion at the front of the Museum. However, Kieran Timberlake Architects, in charge of the project, recommended inserting an “all-glass structure” in the middle of the Museum’s garden. Therefore, the expansion would allow seamless views to and from the interior of the museum toward its historic site to enhance his magnificent 134 years old former prison walls.

The Challenge

The remaining question for Kieran Timberlake Architects, with this ambitious project, was “How can we create an event space to engage visitors and amplify mission for a small museum?”

To exceed this challenge, Kieran Timberlake Architects chose to demonstrate a unique and ambitious use of structural glass panels. In this way, the Museum would not only celebrate his heritage and improve the landscape, but will also give to his visitors the impression of a clear and wide space.

Moreover, by placing the pavilion in the garden at the back of the museum, the goal was to draw the attendees through the corridors of the museum itself, engaging them with the art and inspiring them to return again.

The Realization

The expansion project begun in 2004, but it was only in 2011 that the work started and in 2012 that the Event Pavilion was officially opened.
Saint-Gobain supplied extra-large glass panels (7 meters high) processed by Thiele Glas.

Custom made glass panels were designed to create a thin transparent wall with minimal joints. In other words, more daylight and less construction.

To ensure a clear view for the occupants, the architects chose SGG DIAMANT for its high light transmission. Regarding the coating, CLIMAPLUS PLANITHERM XN II was used to help protect the environment, by reducing the energy consumption for heating, while increasing the visitors’ comfort. Other double glazing panels were supplied with PLANIDUR laminated glass of a total thickness of 70mm, ensuring maximum security.

With this aesthetic Overlength glass panels, the Museum was able to create a new dynamic and fulfill its mission by attracting new audiences and creating an additional revenue stream.

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