Over the coming months and year ahead, the Brandywine Museum of Art will be undergoing renovation projects to improve the visitor experience, including creating more spaces where the public can gather. During this time, there will be ongoing construction activity in and surrounding the Museum’s courtyard and perimeter, including the walkway leading up to the existing courtyard entrance gates. We appreciate your patience as we undergo this disruptive, but vital work.
As you’ll recall, our former lecture room, educational classroom, ADA-accessible entrance and several accessible restrooms—all on the lower level below our first-floor gallery, lobby, and Café—were heavily damaged by the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Ida in 2021, including critical mechanical systems that have since been replaced and relocated to higher ground above the flood level. This significant loss of public space has severely impacted Brandywine’s capacity to host in-person lectures, educational programs, and special events.
To replace these lost functions, the Museum is working simultaneously on several projects. One is a complete renovation of our courtyard space designed by Cooper Robertson, a New York-based architectural firm, in cooperation with Tevebaugh Architecture, that will include new, level paving (our beloved Belgian block stones will be retained for later use) which will more easily and flexibly accommodate educational programs, special events, and rental opportunities. The courtyard will also be larger and feature integrated lighting for evening events, native plantings—designed by Olin, a Philadelphia-based landscape architectural firm—and a new permanent ADA entrance ramp that will provide greater accessibility to all our visitors and, from a standpoint of design, be more harmonious to the Mill building.
Inside the Museum, we are adding an accessible family restroom on the first floor, near the Millstone Café, which will replace one of the restrooms that were destroyed on our lower level during the flood. We are also creating—out of former office spaces—a state-of-the-art multi-purpose room with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a spectacular view out over the Brandywine Creek. Opening in late January 2024, this beautiful space will be able to welcome over 100 people for a variety of uses, including lectures and special performances.
Additionally, and on a longer timetable, we will be undertaking what is called a flood-hardening process to make the lower level of the Museum watertight. In this complex engineering procedure, openings of any kind, including windows, doors, and vents will be removed; structural reinforcement and waterproof material will be applied to the building interior to withstand the pressure from future flood waters; and the foundation anchored to resist buoyancy. All of this work is vital in ensuring that the Museum will be better prepared for more frequent and severe floods in the years ahead, so that we can remain focused on safeguarding our renowned collection and creating the highest-possible visitor experience.
Stay tuned for more details on these and other exciting projects to come!
Courtyard Design Team:
Cooper Robertson: Design Architect
OLIN: Landscape Architect
Tevebaugh Architecture: Architect of Record