Peabody Essex Museum
Moshe Safdie

September 16, 2002 /

Salem, Massachusetts, USA

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

From the exterior the new wing reads as five separate buildings, each  building evoking the scale and different forms of traditional New England architecture.

The new wing creates a dramatic public space at the heart of the Peabody Essex Museum campus with a soaring glass roof over a courtyard piazza that will serve as a central gathering place, in the tradition of a New England village green. Walkways radiate from the open space, leading into both new and renovated galleries, and to the new education and public performance centers.

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

A curved, glazed arcade aligned over the existing Liberty Street forms the spine of the new wing and, with a courtyard, weaves together the old and new buildings. Windows along the arcade reveal city vistas or views into galleries, enabling visitors to easily find their way through the Museum. Carefully selected exterior architectural details tie the new Museum to its collection of historic houses as well as to the surrounding city.

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

Gallery interiors are filled with light from skylights that allow natural illumination of both first and second floor galleries. An education center for adults and children will use workshop and studio spaces, as well as interactive technology, to explore connections between art, architecture, and the natural world.

The nearby 190-seat auditorium and performance space greatly expands the range of public programming, lectures, films, music, and dance that the Peabody Essex Museum offers.

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

Photo courtesy Moshe Safdie & Associates

An important part of the new Peabody Essex Museum is the creation of the beautiful outdoor spaces designed by acclaimed landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh whose 1994 restoration of Harvard Yard received an Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Sketch courtesy Moshe Safdie and Associates
Drawing courtesy Moshe Safdie and Associates
Gallery daylighting diagram

Drawing courtesy Moshe Safdie and Associates
First Floor Plan

Drawing courtesy Moshe Safdie and Associates

The Peabody Essex Museum was founded in 1799, just 16 years after the birth of the nation, when entrepreneurs from Salem came to understand that to thrive in a new global economy, they needed to understand and appreciate other peoples and cultures. 

In that spirit, they founded the first American museum to collect the art of Asia and the Pacific, acquiring collections it would be impossible to duplicate today. 

Facts about Peabody Essex Museum

Total Area:

101,000 ft2

The Peabody Essex Museum

Landscape Architecture:

Michael Van Valkenburg

Last updated: December 19, 2013

See also

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