Adjaye Associates named as architect of Shelburne Museum’s new pavilion

Building Collections

Adjaye Associates named as architect of Shelburne Museum’s new pavilion

The museum’s campus includes 39 structures, including a historic steamboat. (Andy Duback)

The Shelburne Museum has announced Adjaye Associates as the design architect for its forthcoming Perry Center for Native American Art. The Vermont museum is home to 39 buildings and 22 gardens nestled across 45 acres, which preserve and house American art and design history. While the campus is almost entirely historic, Ann Beha Architects designed the campus’s prominent 2013 addition, The Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, expanding the institution’s event and educational capacities.

Yesterday, the museum announced their stewardship of the Perry Collection of Native American Art. The collection largely includes items from Plains, Prairie, and Southwest peoples, and “forms the core of a museum initiative to collaborate with Indigenous nations, scholars and culture bearers to present a model of stewardship for Indigenous creative culture and presentation to a broad audience.”

The Perry Center is being designed as a 9,750-square-foot pavilion, with sustainability and the culturally appropriate exhibitions of Indigenous culture as key design motivations. In a statement, Adjaye said: ““Our team is inspired by the potential of the Perry Center to not only enhance Shelburne Museum as a destination for education, but also to amplify and empower the Indigenous communities represented by the collection and to reconceptualize the role of a 21st century museum facility.”

exterior of
The Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building houses the museums French Impressionist art. (Courtesy Shelburne Museum)

Adjaye Associates, whose United States office is in New York, will work closely with Indigenous partners in the design of the $12.6 million building. Two Row Architect has been named the Indigenous consultant on the project, while a Native American Advisory Committee and a Native American Collections Stewardship Advisory Committee will advise on the Perry Collection’s care and host a “series of cultural competency seminars,” respectively. These committees include academics, museum professionals (including of Indigenous heritage), and members of the Abenaki nation. The design team is rounded out with Neumann/Smith Architecture as the architect of record and Reed Hilderbrand as landscape architect. Adjaye Associates’ ongoing work includes the Princeton University Art Museum and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s campus.

a barn with a lawn in front of it
The Round Barn was built by Massachusetts Shakers in 1826. (Courtesy Shelburne Museum)

Thomas Denenberg, the museum’s CEO and director, said that the “Shelburne Museum is honored to be partnering with David Adjaye and his team to create a welcoming space where Tribal members and scholars can study and engage with Indigenous art and all visitors—the local community, schoolchildren and tourists—can experience the museum. David and his colleagues are in absolute alignment with the museum’s goal to serve as a culturally competent steward of a nationally important collection.”

Groundbreaking is anticipated for autumn 2024, with the pavilion’s tentative opening coming in 2026.