The addition and renovation will transform the physical relationship between the museum, park, and city by removing an existing isolating courtyard wall and siting the addition to engage the community, fully activate the town green space, and improve visitor flow. The expansion will elevate the museum’s presence, responding to its role as a significant piece of civic architecture while respecting the scale of the historic core and view of the building’s iconic copper cupola. Visible from the nearby train station, the expansion will attract new visitors to learn the story of Manassas and provide opportunities to educate, unite, and grow the community.
Contextual yet distinct, the new addition flanks the building’s existing wings and graciously welcomes those arriving from downtown. With a materiality that dialogues with the existing cupola and historic district, the form of the special exhibit hall opens to the park creating dynamic views that engage visitors and the community. The administrative wing, located opposite the special exhibit hall, is a quieter composition complementing the existing building. The re-designed accessible courtyard and amphitheater link the lawn and museum together and provide flexible outdoor programming and event space activating both the museum and the lawn. A new entry and corridors with exhibits and transparent glazing along the courtyard will create a continual dialogue between the museum and outdoor spaces.