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About the Building


How does the Brown Fine Arts Center compare with its predecessor?

The renovation and expansion transformed every element of the 1972 building. The building was expanded by 28 percent, with a minimal expansion of its footprint, an important consideration given the center's proximity to both a historic street and older campus buildings such as College Hall. The building's exterior was also dramatically overhauled. A traditional brick blends the building into its historically rich setting. From within the building, remarkable campus and street vistas are highlighted by the new design.

How much of the former building was reused?

Approximately 50 percent of the skeleton of the original building was retained.

What was the impetus for the project?

The former building was outdated. Since 1972, environmental standards for indoor air quality have improved dramatically, and the art studios were in need of updated ventilation. The Museum of Art was experiencing space shortages for art storage, students, and staff. The former museum building had not been built with the kind of visitor amenities that are expected today, and its environmental controls, while adequate, were inefficient. The entire facility also lacked the kind of wiring needed for today's technology.

What did the new design achieve?

Expanded the complex by 36,000 gross square feet, while enlarging the footprint by just 2.5 percent

Created an enclosed, 40-foot high sky-lit atrium that unites the art library, museum, and art department and serves as a year-round gathering space

Incorporated a 7,000 gross-square foot Imaging Center that unites and makes available the very latest technology in digital imaging for students, teaching, and research

Increased to five the number of special classrooms that are available for teaching with museum objects

Added a common "wet" room for art-making, material analysis, and family/children's events

Wired the entire complex with cutting-edge technology, including high-speed and graphically-enhanced workstations as well as infrastructure for teleconferencing and wireless capabilities


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