Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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    Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
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The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art hired famed architect Charles W. Moore of Centerbrook Architects to design a 42,000-square-foot-addition. The new post-modern wing has strong geometric detailing, including a dominant ramp entrance, which harkens back to the ancient architecture of Greek and Roman times. Years later, another addition to the back of the building created ADA access and additional parking, rendering the original entrance unused. The ramp that was at one time a building statement, was now seen as a barrier.

In 2012, with a desire to cement the connection between the museum, new library, and Greene Square, OPN was hired to modify the interior and exterior of the building. To create a sense of arrival, OPN removed the ramp and replaced it with public gathering areas, a stairway and new doors opening directly onto the street, and a plaza for public art.

By peeling away the ramp, the team opened the museum to Greene Square and the library. Together, the three public spaces create a cohesive community destination. Public art further ties the spaces together. At the art museum, Jun Kaneka’s pair of giant ceramic heads were chosen for the artist’s ties to the Midwest and their bold, bright punctuation for the plaza.

Inside, much-needed updates were made to the roof and atrium doorways, and two back-flow prevention valves were installed. Improvements to and restoration in the Carnegie Library and Moore gallery wings reinvigorated the spaces while respecting the history and design.

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