The Frick Art & Historical Center engaged the architects to create a new visitor center. More broadly, the project was to re-imagine the experience of the campus to bring visitors closer to the center as they arrived, provide a sense of connection, and increase program possibilities with the new facility.
The new Orientation Center houses an admission/ticketing area, a new museum shop, and education and orientation galleries. The 3,000 sf facility uses integrated technology to allow visitors to engage with the Frick's collections and programs, and plan their visit to the campus's galleries and historic buildings. Designed as a focal point for arriving visitors, the building was situated to fit within the campus's attractive grounds and to respect Clayton, the historic estate. The Orientation Center was conceived as a garden pavilion - a light-filled shelter for visitors.
The folded roof structure responds to the adjacent buildings and mediates between the different building scales on campus. It lifts to offer uninterrupted views to aid in orienting visitors to their surroundings. A low-iron, high-transparency glass was selected to maximize this aspect and invite patrons in as the building glows at night.
The deep overhang of the roof, brise soleil and automated shading protect the interior from excessive heat and glare. Sustainable design features include highly efficient fixtures and mechanical units, locally sourced Pennsylvania sandstone, glass, windows and doors, and zoned controls. An integrated rainwater collection system directs water into planting beds surrounding the building, planted with horsetail reeds.
Though modern in character, the Orientation Center's details reflect the history and craftsmanship of the Clayton House and the Frick collection. Herringbone laid tile floors and slatted cherry ceilings recall materials and patterns from the estate. The Orientation Center, in both its architecture and program, is rich with resources to enhance the Frick experience.