No. 159 . 20 August 2003 
ArchitectureWeek
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Moshe Safdie Peabody Essex Addition

by Michael J. Crosbie

Moshe Safdie's architecture continues to intrigue. Buildings such as the National Gallery in Ottawa, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, Exploration Place Science Center and Children's Museum in Wichita, Kansas, and the Vancouver Public Library in Canada each exhibit the Israeli-born architect's passion for complex geometries, elegant materials, and urban place-making. The new $125 million addition to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, is no exception.

The Peabody Essex is one of the oldest and fastest-growing museums in the United States. It was founded in 1799 and is a repository for a collection of artifacts from Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and New England. Here, Moshe Safdie has created new galleries, public spaces, an auditorium, and a first-class renovation of older exhibit areas that speak of the museum's heritage and Salem's history going back hundreds of years.

Safdie's Design Approach

The 111,000-square-foot (10,300-square-meter) addition reflects Safdie's design method. Working closely with the site is paramount. "I wanted to capture something about the place," Safdie explains. In approaching a design, he spends as much time as practicable on site, even for competition designs such as the Peabody Essex.   >>>

 

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