So. . . we got the job.
The next two and a half months (mid-November through January) became a wild whirlwind of committee meetings, inquiries, design excursions, public meetings, and pedal-to-the-medal production of the deliverable products we had promised. The holidays didn’t help, and it didn’t help either that we were establishing an intense collaborative relationship with a firm we had never worked with before, and doing it under the gun.
But we got it done. We’re very proud of the products of this work. And pleased with the collaboration with the Museum staff and planning committee, and with Oudens Ello, the Boston firm with whom we partnered. Talented architect Ryan Bushey, the youngest SMC owner, did a superb job leading our charge – pulling together complex programming information, working closely with our Boston team, and pulling a few late-nighters to get all the drawings done.
Is it the place where the museum will continue to tell the rich stories of the Vineyard’s past?
The intention of the study was to test the site’s appropriateness, to supply the museum’s board with the necessary information to make an informed decision about whether to purchase the property, and to provide materials for the museum to use in its fundraising efforts.
Is this the right place for the Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s combined exhibition, educational, research, and archival activities? Is it the place where the museum will continue to tell the rich stories of the Vineyard’s past, and is it the property to which it will tie its future?
We looked carefully at the museum’s programmatic needs and desires, and pared them down to the essential elements necessary for a truly exciting and functional facility.
We determined that the renovation of the 1895 Marine Hospital building – a cornerstone of MVM’s interest in the site – is feasible and highly desirable, and that many of MVM’s functions fit well within the confines of the (restored) building. In fact, the building, once restored, will become an essential “artifact” in the museum’s collection.
We determined that the site can accommodate the new spaces needed to complement the old, and it can be done in a way that respects and enhances the neighborhood, the property, and the existing building.
We determined that we can satisfy the original design objectives (see below) that we assembled with the museum’s staff and planning committee. We developed a preliminary cost estimate and outline specifications.
We considered some of the many ways this facility can have positive impacts on the community. And we met with a cross-section of abutters, members of town boards, and Martha’s Vineyard Commissioners to receive comments and feedback. The response was overwhelmingly positive. In our experience it is unprecedented to introduce a major project, which will bring significant change to a thickly settled neighborhood, and receive no negative reactions. This doesn’t mean there will be no negative reactions if the project moves forward, but we now know with certainty that there will be plenty of passionate support to offset any negative reactions that may arise.
We would love to connect this wonderful property to the town and the island.
As we came to the end of this work, we were (and are) of the opinion that this is a perfect fit – the St Pierre’s property is a superb location for the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
The Museum extended its option for four months, through May, to test the fundraising waters and see if this $20 Million dollar project is feasible. We hope their findings are positive.
We would love:
- the opportunity to take this further.
- to connect this wonderful property to the town and the island.
- to conduct a deep energy retrofit to the existing building and, at the same time, restore it to its former magnificence.
- to design and build a beautiful new museum addition that, while achieving Vineyard-appropriate scale and detail, “implements state-of-the-art energy efficient design – that surpasses best current museum practice” (as our design objectives say) and which draws from current European museum experience, which we have learned is more advanced than American practices (as is often the case).
- to minimize the use of fossil fuels and maximize the site’s renewable energy generation capability.
- to treat this site with great respect, including implementation of a composting waste recovery system to keep nitrates out of Lagoon Pond.
- to design a complex that fully supports the mission of the MV Museum and becomes a community treasure that the people of the island will love and support.
We would love to do all these things. We hope to have the chance.