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The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) announces the selection of Ennead Architects to design the museum’s $200 million, 175,000-square-foot expansion. Renowned for design excellence and for its collaborative approach, Ennead was chosen from a group of distinguished architecture firms that were invited to participate in a design charrette this summer. Ennead brings extensive museum experience to the project, having designed the much-acclaimed renovation and expansion of the Yale University Art Gallery, as well as several significant projects at the Brooklyn Museum, Natural History Museum of Utah, William J. Clinton Presidential Center and the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History.

“Ennead Architects impressed us with their creative dexterity, in-depth understanding of our institution and thoughtful design solutions for the museum’s complex architectural program. We celebrate their responsive, collaborative spirit and look forward to partnering with them to achieve a design that provides a superlative museum experience,” said Dan Monroe, PEM’s Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO.

“Ennead Architects brings experience, creativity and tremendous talent to PEM’s expansion project,” said Samuel T. Byrne, Co-Chairman of the PEM Board of Trustees. “We feel confident they will create a building that will serve the museum well into the future.”

Ennead was chosen after the successful completion of the first phase of the building project, executed by Rick Mather Architects of London, U.K. The initial phase included master planning and the renovation of the Dodge wing, which will reopen in October with a new and expanded Art & Nature Center, and a vibrant program of special exhibitions.

“PEM’s expansion presents an exciting design challenge and an opportunity to reimagine one of the oldest and fastest growing museums in the country,” said Ennead design partner Richard Olcott. “We are committed to creating a design that functionally integrates the museum’s existing campus with a bold new vision that enhances the museum both aesthetically and experientially.”

PEM’s $200 million building expansion project is part of a landmark $650 million Campaign to advance the museum’s mission of celebrating outstanding art, culture and creative expression in ways that transform people’s lives. The expansion will add approximately 75,000 square feet of new galleries; public program and education spaces; a restaurant, as well as essential improvements to the museum’s collection, conservation and exhibition processing areas.

Groundbreaking for PEM’s expansion project is to commence in 2015, and the new wing will open to the public in 2019. PEM will remain open throughout the construction process until the final months, when re-installation of the museum’s galleries will take place.


Known for powerful and sustainable building designs for cultural, educational, scientific and governmental institutions, the internationally acclaimed Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership) has been a leader in the design world for decades. Its buildings have been recognized for architectural excellence, for their significant contributions to the cultural life of their communities and for the enhancement of their physical contexts. Recipient of the prestigious AIA NY Medal of Honor and the Smithsonian Institution-Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and numerous design awards for individual buildings, including 12 National AIA Honor Awards, Ennead engages in work across the spectrum of architectural endeavor, including new building design, planning and adaptive re-use.