MVRDV - MVRDV shortlisted to design expansion of Portland Museum of Art in Maine

MVRDV shortlisted to design expansion of Portland Museum of Art in Maine


MVRDV is one of four teams shortlisted in a competition for the expansion of the Portland Museum of Art. Founded in 1882, the PMA is one of the United States’ oldest museums. It is also Maine’s largest and most visited art institution, occupying a city block in downtown Portland with a series of buildings including some historic 19th-century houses. The project will be the museum’s first expansion since the Charles Shipman Payson Building, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, opened in 1976, and will add 60,000 square feet (5,575 square metres) of flexible, community, gallery, and public space, to enable up to 500,000 visitors per year.

Leading a team comprising Stoss, The Institute for Human Centered Design, Pentagram, Atelier Ten, and DVDL, MVRDV will design an inclusive, innovative expansion that unifies the many buildings of the PMA campus while doubling the museum’s total size. The expansion will follow the principles of the PMA’s mission and vision, “Art for All”, which emphasises sustainability and diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusivity.

“The selected teams’ submissions demonstrate a deep understanding of the museum’s mission to redefine the role of a museum within society and each shortlisted team has been thoughtfully constructed to reflect the PMA’s commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusivity, and sustainability”, says Susanna Sirefman, the founder and President of Dovetail Design Strategists, who developed and led the competition. “The competition was designed to generate such partnerships and we eagerly anticipate seeing what this stellar shortlist develops in the next stage of the competition.”

The announcement of the shortlist marks the start of the design competition, in which the team will respond to the museum’s call for “an architecture that will renew, revitalize and redefine a museum’s role in society […] creating a paradigm shift for museums around the globe.”

“Our aspirations as a cultural institution are far greater than simply ‘building a building’, and when we launched the competition, we were curious to see if our colleagues in the architectural world were equally interested in the paradigm shift we were imagining. Turns out, they were,” said Mark H.C. Bessire, the Judy and Leonard Lauder Director of the Portland Museum of Art.

The announcement of the winning design is expected to take place by the end of 2022. In addition to the team led by MVRDV, the shortlist also includes teams led by Adjaye Associates, LEVER Architecture, and Toshiko Mori Architect + Johnston Marklee + Preston Scott Cohen. Find out more about the competition and shortlist here.

Main image via Portland Museum of Art.