Water Court of The Pavilions, 2017. Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy: Glenstone Museum.

Glenstone Museum to Complete Major Expansion Project in 2018

The Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, has announced that it will open several new buildings, dubbed the Pavilions, as part of a major expansion that will be completed in late 2018. The project will allow the institution to increase its visitorship to one hundred thousand people per year, from twenty-five thousand, by adding 240,000 square feet of space. The campus will boast a new arrival hall, entry pavilion, and bookstore, as well as two cafes. The museum will remain open to the public during the construction process.

“When we opened Glenstone in 2006, we hoped people would welcome the opportunity to enjoy extraordinary contemporary art, architecture, and landscape as a unified experience, with no hurry, no crowding and no admission fee,” said Mitchell Rales, cofounder of the museum. “The response we received got stronger with each new exhibition and convinced us to carry out the larger plan we’d always had in mind. We have now doubled the area of Glenstone’s landscape, increased indoor exhibition space, and ensured that a much larger selection of the collection will always be on view.”

Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, the Pavilions will add 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, nearly a six-fold increase from the building’s original footprint of 9,000 square feet. In order to adhere to artists’ wishes in presenting their work, Glenstone collaborated with artists Michael Heizer, Charles Ray, On Kawara, Brice Marden, and Cy Twombly, who will all have rooms dedicated to their practices.

In an effort to integrate the new buildings seamlessly with the museum’s existing structure and the natural environment, PWP Landscape is working with Thomas Phifer to embed the new buildings into a knoll and to build an 18,000-square-foot water court—a floating garden filled with four thousand water lilies, irises, and rushes—that will connect the pavilions. Musuemgoers will have to embark on a seven-minute walk over a timber bridge and through a meadow in order to get to the Pavilions from the Arrival Hall. “You leave the world behind,” said Phifer about the pathway. “With every step, the everyday distractions drop away.”