Bruner/Cott Completes New Children’s Museum + Theatre of Maine

     

A Beloved Portland Venue Receives a New Home for Play and Exploration

Boston, MA (June 28, 2021) – Known for its museum design expertise, Bruner/Cott Architects recently completed a new 30,000-square-foot building for the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. Formerly housed in the downtown Portland Arts District, the Museum & Theatre’s former physical limitations restricted its ability to expand programming and services for steadily growing visitation and educational offerings. Now, located on Thompson’s Point in Portland along the Fore River, the bold, new structure, which opened on June 24, is designed to support greater access and future growth.

The size, scale, and shape of the Museum & Theatre connect it to the industrial shipping and railroad heritage of its site. Its proportions, rhythm, and fenestration patterns are inspired by Thompson’s Point historic brick structures, and steel cross-bracing is a referential feature. The exterior is clad with colorful metal shingles arranged in a dynamic, playful pattern—inspired by patterns found in nature. Inside, the new building contains a 100-seat theatre, experiential exhibits, a STEM classroom and makerspace, meeting rooms and offices, and an outdoor play area adjacent to the waterfront landscape.

A spacious, 20-foot-high entry lobby surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass welcomes visitors of all ages. Connecting the indoors and outdoors, it brings in abundant natural light, setting the stage for a welcoming experience for caregivers and children. Easily navigable, the museum’s exhibit spaces incorporate visual and programmatic connections to Maine culture.

Sustainable strategies employed in the project included first addressing the challenges of a brownfield site (an old railway repair yard). Knowing that this highly visible and important building site was comprised of fill soil that would be expensive to remove and replace with structural soil, the project pre-loaded the building area to compact the soil and minimize off-site removal. Low wattage LED lighting was used throughout the building, and a VRF (variable refrigeration flow) system was installed for heating and cooling. These MEP measures save energy and operating costs because the entire system is more efficient than one that simply meets code. Additionally, the site is in close proximity to local, regional, and international public transportation.

“We began this project nearly six years ago, building on our firm’s long history of museum and gallery design,” said Bruner/Cott Principal Jason Forney. “A true collaboration between our firm and our client has produced a building that embodies the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s mission and goals for its new venue, certain to attract visitors from near and far.”

“There is so much joy in this building and visitor excitement about its opening,” said CMTM Executive Director Julie Butcher Pezzino. “The past year has been trying for everyone. As we move past the pandemic, we are enthusiastic about all the experiences our new building and its innovative, interactive exhibits and state-of-the-art theatre will bring to fans of our previous facility, as well as new visitors to Maine from across the nation and the world.””

 

Photos: https://bit.ly/3qnhPux

Photography Credit: Trent Bell Photography

Top Left Filmstrip Photo: Sean Alonzo Harris

 

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About Bruner/Cott

A two-time recipient of the AIA National Honor Award for Design, the firm’s work has been recognized for award-winning design in preservation, adaptive transformation, and new construction. The firm is dedicated to design excellence and the belief that thoughtful architecture and planning can make a positive difference in the quality of life, shared sense of purpose, and vitality of a community. Headquartered in Boston, MA, the firm is a 49-year young practice that bring a broad, integrated perspective to design, giving depth to each practice area.

The firm’s seminal projects include MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA), one of America’s largest contemporary art museums, the reimagined Boston University School of Law complex, recipient of a DOCOMOMO US Modernism in America Award; and the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, a 2017 AIA COTE Top Ten Award winner and a Living Building certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

 

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Media release:

Debra Pickrel, Principal
Pickrel Communications, Inc.

Click to download.

Children’s Museum + Theatre of Maine Celebrates Grand Opening

The new Children’s Museum + Theatre of Maine celebrated the long-anticipated grand opening of its brand new building, yesterday.

Museum Director Julie Butcher Pezzino, Museum Board President Kristin Valdmanis, and Maine Governor Janet Mills were among those who spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

 

 

[stblockquote title=”” top_left=”” author=”Kristin Valdmanis, Museum Board President”]We built this amazing place for everyone, young and old, and our goal is to ensure belongingness and connection for all who walk through these giant yellow doors.

[/stblockquote]

 

A spacious, 20-foot-high entry lobby surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass welcomes visitors of all ages. Connecting the indoors and outdoors, it brings in abundant natural light, setting the stage for a welcoming and relaxing experience for caregivers and children.

 

Easily navigable, the museum and theatre’s exhibit spaces incorporate visual and programmatic connections to Maine culture.

 

Just shy of its 100th birthday, Maddy’s Theatre found a new home at Thompson’s Point where it can truly “unleash magic” and inspire joy and discovery. Equipped with a teaching tech booth, a soundproof viewing gallery, its own dedicated lobby, and a green room and workshop backstage, Maddy’s Theatre is a state-of-the-art facility designed with young, family audiences in mind.

 

Congratulations, Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine! Bruner/Cott is proud to have designed the new home for your beloved institution.

 

Living Building Makers: Creating Sustainable Buildings That Renew Our World

Living Building Makers: Creating Sustainable Buildings That Renew Our World is a handcrafted collection of stories celebrating the people who bring the built environment to life.

The book was written by Jonathan A. Wright, an accomplished maker specializing in the construction and design of sustainable, healthy, high-performance buildings. Wright Builders, Inc. has constructed two Living Buildings in Amherst, MA – the R.W. Kern Center and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment.

Set on the Hampshire College campus, Jonathan A. Wright’s stories are a tribute to the unsung individuals – builders, tradespeople, designers, engineers, educators, craftspeople, and owners – who rolled up their sleeves to play a part in creating two of the greenest buildings in the world.

Living Building Makers: Creating Sustainable Buildings That Renew Our World is available through the Ecotone Publishing Bookstore, here.

Frost Terrace Affordable Housing Awarded State Funding

On July 25, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced the recipients of this year’s affordable rental housing awards, which will provide $57 million in direct subsidies for 19 high-impact projects to fund the development, renovation and preservation of much-needed housing opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.

Among this year’s awardees is Frost Terrace (1791 Mass Ave.), a transit-oriented new construction project for families. Bruner/Cott is working on this 40-unit affordable housing project in the Porter Square neighborhood of Cambridge, MA with sponsor, Capstone Communities. All units will be affordable to households earning less than 60% of the area median income (AMI), with four units reserved for households earning less than 30% of AMI.

Additional project funding for Frost Terrace will derive from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds via the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and city trust funds through the City of Cambridge.

“Across our Commonwealth, more and more young families are finding they are not able to put down roots, seniors are not able to age in their communities, and hard-working residents are spending more of their paychecks and precious time traveling further to get to their jobs,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary, Janelle Chan.  “Today’s awards will enable communities to grow with their residents, and be a part of a state-wide and regional response to the affordable housing crisis.”

Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for this award and your continued commitment to creating affordable to low- and middle- income housing across the state of Massachusetts. We are thrilled to be among the 19 deserving recipients who are transforming their communities and providing vital resources for their neighborhoods.

To learn more about the affordable rental housing awards, click here.

 

360° Views of Harvard’s Most Memorable Spaces

Outgoing Harvard President, Drew Faust, took some time to reflect on her favorite spaces on campus. She shared with The Harvard Gazette the places, times, and ways Harvard marked her, including times of joy, laughter, sorrow, and poignancy. From the recently-renovated Lavietes Basketball Pavilion to the Smith Campus Center currently under construction, Bruner/Cott is responsible for many of Faust’s favorite and most memorable spaces during her ten years as president. The following 360° videos will allow you to experience these projects through her eyes.

 

Lavietes Basketball Pavilion

“I remember very soon after I became president, attending a women’s basketball game and celebrating with them my ascension to female power.”

First constructed in 1926, Lavietes Pavilion is the second-oldest active basketball facility in the United States; a major goal of the project is to celebrate the intimacy and historic charm of the building and showcase the history of Harvard Basketball and Harvard Athletics. Bruner/Cott has been a part of the growth of the Lavietes Pavilion since its first renovation in the 1980s when it was the Briggs Athletic Center. Read more.

 

Memorial Hall 

“It’s hard for me to believe that this wonderful building and that wonderful space was left almost to disuse.”

In collaboration with Venturi, Scott Brown, Bruner/Cott restored the historic shell and upgraded the building to contemporary standards. The restored space boasts hammerbeam trusses, stained glass windows, stenciled ceiling details, walnut paneling, new flooring and custom-designed furniture. Bruner/Cott was responsible for the entire 15,000 sf food service operation, including a total kitchen redesign, new serveries, and Loker Student Commons on the lower level. Read more.

 

Knafel Center (Radcliffe Gymnasium)

“Radcliffe alums not only used that balcony as a track, they had to learn how to lower themselves on a rope from the balcony onto the floor because it was believed that it would be important for women to know how to use a rope to get out of a burning building.”

Radcliffe Gymnasium was designed in 1898 by McKim Mead & White as a gym for students at Radcliffe College. The reinterpreted gymnasium is now a lecture and event salon for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Radcliffe Yard. The Gymnasium’s versatile, multi-use spaces are popular with the entire Harvard community. The large second-floor lecture space — used every day for informal gatherings and study — can be easily converted into a formal setting for social events, with full provisions for catering. The upper-level former running track is now a “walking and talking” track for discussions and informal viewing of presentations and lectures. Read more.

 

Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center

“A university-wide space, in which people could bump into each other, share ideas, find spaces in which to have meetings for their organizations and groups, and embody the sort of unity that I felt would strengthen the university.”

The 1960-65 Holyoke Center by Josep Lluis Sert in Harvard Square is undergoing a major transformation to attract and mix the varied constituencies within the university – faculty, undergraduates, staff, graduate students, and engaged visitors. Bruner/Cott is working with the Harvard client team and design architect, Hopkins Architects of London on extensive programming and sensitive transformation of this campus icon. Construction work, including façade restoration, additions, and interiors, began in the spring of 2016 and is slated for completion in 2018. Read more.

 

To read the entire Harvard Gazette article, click here. Congratulations to Drew Faust on a wonderful career at Harvard University!