In 2019, Allied Works was selected by Penn State University to create a new home for the Palmer Museum of Art, an institution with a 45-year history of innovation, a strong academic mission, and a growing collection.
The site is a key link between the campus core and the Arboretum, which serves as a destination for the entire region. This location weaves together the Museum and the Arboretum, connecting people to landscape, landscape to art and art to light. Unearthing the collection from the current location will provide new opportunities for access and visibility, and it will offer a new context for a rich American art collection within the landscape which inspired many of its signature works. The building will expand gallery space, as well as resources for education, programming and events, providing a truly interdisciplinary center for the University and the wider community.
The building is organized as interlocking pavilions set within the flows of the greater landscape. Each pavilion is clad in a palette of local stone, evoking the geological history of the Nittany Valley and Central Pennsylvania. These pavilions in turn define indoor and outdoor garden courtyards for gathering and contemplation. Within the pavilions, galleries are proportioned to capture abundant daylight from above, and curate views through “lenses” to the Arboretum gardens and landscape beyond. Threading through pavilions and courts, the gallery sequence is punctuated by double height spaces that allow visual connection to other collections, provide curatorial flexibility, and expanded program opportunities.