A sustainable facility for cutting-edge art
Pomona College is a private institution that was founded in 1887. As one of the country’s premier liberal arts colleges, it is known for quality academic programs, a challenging curriculum, and excellent opportunities for student research and leadership.
Situated in a prominent location on the college’s 140-acre campus, the Benton Museum of Art replaces an existing ‘50s-era structure. It was impractical to renovate the original museum and make it environmentally friendly, which prompted the creation of this new $44m facility. The U-shaped building features walls of cast-in-place concrete accented by wood, glass, and a distinctive inclined roofline. The flexible facility will be used for a variety of purposes, providing an insight into what it takes to manage and curate a museum while also educating visitors on the collections themselves – all within a limited footprint.
This 33,000ft2 teaching museum affords direct engagement with works of art for students and the public. It also allows curricular use of collections and exhibitions, and supports social and academic programs. Apart from four galleries and office space, the design offers storage and ease of access for a growing permanent collection of more than 14,000 objects – including a significant amount of Native American art and four complete series of etchings by Goya – that will be relocated and catalogued over the course of a year for a 2020 opening.
Pomona College’s stated sustainability vision is to construct, operate, and maintain efficient buildings and outdoor venues to create healthy spaces and minimize environmental impact. The college is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
In line with this ethos, every new construction project is built according to a set of Green Building Standards that specify attainment of LEED Gold certification. BuroHappold’s energy expertise was required to help the client meet these goals.
In meeting sustainability requirements for the new museum, BuroHappold Engineering provided integrated engineering services along with the development of a measurement and verification plan. Ongoing evaluation of energy use provides valuable feedback that will help to reduce consumption, making considerable savings over the building’s lifetime. LEED recognizes the value of measurement and verification with credits that will help to achieve ongoing accountability of energy consumption and demonstrate that low-energy building features are delivering appropriate savings.
Pomona College has helped to launch some of Southern California’s most influential artists. This new teaching museum not only provides outstanding resources for creative undergraduates but also supports the college’s intent to make the visual arts an essential educational component for students of all disciplines.
BuroHappold’s engineering skill and energy experience enabled LEED Gold sustainability standards to be met. The finished structure is a welcoming green space for the client to exhibit contemporary cutting-edge art and safely store thousands of valuable pieces. More than just an academic amenity, the new museum will benefit the community and enrich this culturally intrepid region for years to come.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply