- Environment & Infrastructure
- Strategic consulting
- Specialist consulting
- The Living City
- Happold Consulting
Housed in a stunning 15th century Venetian style palace in Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is both an intimate collection of fine and decorative arts as well as vibrant venue for artists, musicians and scholars. Facing pressure on the existing building as visitor numbers increased and the cultural role of the museum expanded, the museum made the bold decision to build an addition to the historic palace. The museum re-opened to the public on January 19 with a 70,000ft² addition designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano.
International multidisciplinary engineering firm Buro Happold provided creative structural and MEP engineering solutions for the addition to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The engineering team concealed the complex building systems in a seamless network in order to maintain the clean lines of the architectural vision. The design team, which is targeting LEED Gold certification, kept both performance and discreet design at the forefront.
Buro Happold melded the structural and MEP systems into one cohesive, invisible form. “Our team achieved the streamlined architectural vision for this project by exploring and developing creative engineering solutions,” explained Craig Schwitter, Buro Happold Managing Director for North America and Partner-in-Charge of the project for Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “We created an integrated design that hides the MEP systems from view and minimises the structural systems to enhance the architectural experience.”
The building lines hide complex integration of the building systems. Examples of systems integration include:
• Intensively coordinated design elements that were painstakingly modelled in three dimension to allow hand-in-glove installation of structure, services ad architecture. Structural elements house piping and conduit, underfloor regions and wall voids are used for air distribution and delivery. Floor surfaces are used for radiant heating and cooling
• Seven heat pumps and eight geothermal wells
• A structural box-in-box design for the world class music performance venue which integrated MEP systems into marginal acoustic cavities and allows outstanding sound quality
•Façade systems that double as the structure for the lobby, greenhouse, and a link to the original palazzo
To complement the museum's aspirations for sustainability and reducing the footprint of the extension, the engineers installed a system of geothermal wells that use heat pumps to heat and cool the building, part of a suite of environmental measures that will reduce energy consumption by an estimated 25%.