Carleton Hires HGA to Design Campus Art Museum

April 3, 2003
Carleton College has named Joan M. Soranno and John Cook of Hammel Green and Abrahamson, a Minneapolis-based, full service architecture, engineering and planning firm, to design a new art museum on campus.

The Art Museum will serve the College community, the city of Northfield and southeastern Minnesota. Carleton currently has a small gallery for temporary exhibitions, but the new museum will house exhibition galleries, art storage, a multi-use classroom/screening room, a lobby and other support spaces. The 15,000 square foot facility will allow the College to expand an already lively exhibition program, and raise the profile of the arts and community outreach. With additional gallery space, the College will highlight the Art Collection through small exhibitions curated by students, faculty and others.

"With the new art museum, the arts will gain visibility and excitement at Carleton," said Laurel Bradley, director of exhibitions. "With well designed storage spaces, galleries, and study-storage room all under one roof, students, faculty and others can begin to use the collection actively in all manner of interdisciplinary projects. The art museum, providing an architecturally exciting gathering space for the community, will become a powerful symbol of the College's commitment to excellence and the arts."

A signature modern style, strong museum expertise, previous Carleton experience and demonstrated sensitivity to the special needs of a liberal arts college museum all contributed to the selection of HGA by the College's steering committee. The process included soliciting and reviewing credentials from 19 architectural firms and interviewing five firms on campus before making the final selection. Members of the committee include Bradley, Richard Strong, director of facilities; Stephen Kelly, dean for budget and planning, as well as faculty and staff members and selected students.

Soranno, vice president and design principal at HGA, has specialized in designing museums and other cultural institutions for 15 years. Her projects include the Barbara Barker Center for Dance at the University of Minnesota (1999), which combines function and inspirational design in a set of simple, soaring forms. Other significant projects include the University of Alaska Museum, slated for completion in 2004, and a chapel for the United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, Minn. Cook has worked with Soranno at HGA since 1997. Currently collaborating with Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron on the expansion and renovation of the Walker Art Center, he has played key roles in such Twin Cities projects as the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota and the Bakken Library and Museum.

Sorrano and Cook will work closely with campus planner Mark Johnson of Civitas to determine a site for the museum. The planning and design will take place during 2003-04, and construction is anticipated to start in spring 2005. HGA, a full-service architecture and engineering firm, will draw on the specialized input of Coen + Partners landscape architects and lighting designers Schuler and Shook.

For more information, contact Carleton College Director of Exhibitions Laurel Bradley at 507-646-4342.