The Gulf Coast Museum of Art is a 45,000 square foot art center
in Largo, Florida.† The campus design reflects the museumís dedication to collecting,
exhibiting and teaching the visual arts.† The project includes exhibition galleries,
studios for instruction, an outdoor sculpture garden, a research library, a
museum store, auditorium, and a master artist residence.† The Museum is part
of the areaís plans for an integrated group of cultural institutions that include
the Botanical Gardens, the Heritage Village and the Florida Gulf Coast Art Museum
of Art.† The buildings are connected by a lightweight, steel colonnade that
runs parallel to the waterway, offering views of the botanical gardens.† The
buildings are spaced to form intimate gardens, allowing a simple weaving of
landscape and architecture while integrating the two cultural endeavors.† As
visitors move through the gardens they are encouraged to observe and interact
with classes and artists in the studios.
At the galleries an innovative lighting system was created featuring a number
of north-facing skylights which punctuate the roof and deliver
an even wash of natural light, a "veil of light."
The skylights are both curved and elongated in section in order
to filter the destructive ultraviolet rays of direct light by
bouncing the light against the curved walls. The result is an
incredible glow of natural light that reveals the full color
spectrum, something that is impossible in artificial light.
The project received the 2001 American Institute of Architects
New England Honor Award for Design Excellence, the 2001
Boston Society of Architects Design Honor Award, and the
1996 Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture Design
Award.† The project was featured in the June 2000 issue
of World Architecture and in James Truloveís book, Designing
the New Museum: Building a Destination.