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Everson Museum of Art

Syracuse, New York  Map
1961–68
Lead Designer
I. M. Pei

With a limited budget and initially scant collection, the design of this small museum involved a speculative approach to its galleries.

A series of four cantilevered boxes are interconnected around an atrium sculpture court. Each of a different size and ceiling height, these galleries rise above a 5-foot podium housing museum services and public spaces accessible after the main galleries are closed. Like a piece of sculpture installed in a plaza, the museum’s compact size and attention to detail make the three-story building the focal point within a larger civic and cultural complex. Poured-in-place concrete mixed with a local granite aggregate complements Syracuse’s numerous sandstone buildings.

Show Facts
Site

Part of a 3-acre site in downtown Syracuse; adjacent to and extending the existing Community Plaza

Components

9 variously-sized galleries, central sculpture court, lower level 300-seat auditorium, classrooms, research library, print room, lounge, meeting room, administrative offices, outdoor plaza

Client

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

PCF&P Services

Architecture, exterior envelope, interior design of public spaces

Awards

National Honor Award
American Institute of Architects, 1969

Visitors travel between galleries on small bridges at the corners of the central court, turning this space and its sculptural concrete stair into an exhibition, circulation, and orientation hub.
The building’s vertical surfaces have been diagonally bush-hammered to conceal joints and highlight the granite’s pink hue.
Project Credits

Associate Architect: Pederson, Hueber, Hares & Glavin; Structural: R. R. Nicolet & Associteas, Montreal; Mechanical / Electrical: Robson & Woese, Inc., Syracuse, NY; Images: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Ezra Stoller/ESTO, Robert Damora