The Clark is an art museum and research center located on a 140-acre (56-hectare) campus in the Berkshires. As part of a major expansion project, Selldorf Architects, working with Gensler as executive architect, was commissioned to design the renovation of two unique but connected structures: the original Museum Building and the Manton Research Center.
The Museum Building, built in 1955 by Daniel Perry, houses the Clark’s permanent collection of European and American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts. As part of the Clark’s expansion, the main entry was relocated to a new building, which resulted in a reconfigured circulation and the conversion of former back-of-house spaces into galleries. A new rhythm in the corridors and galleries, simplified existing details, and state-of-the-art mechanical and lighting systems contribute to an increased visitor focus and a calmer experience for the viewing of art.
The Manton Research Center, designed by Pietro Belluschi and the Architects’ Collaborative, was built in 1973 to house the Clark’s art library, administrative and scholar offices, and an auditorium. Selldorf’s renovation includes the new Study Center for Works on Paper, a public Reading Room, and enhanced research facilities. The Study Center houses access to rare books and prints, an adjacent gallery for rotating exhibitions of the Clark’s prints, drawings, and photography collections, and a second gallery featuring the Manton Collection of British Art. The Reading Room is a central, light- filled gathering space where scholars, museum staff, and the public come together around lounge seating, a coffee bar, and access to the Clark’s 264,000-volume art library.