March 23 2008

Sustainable Museum: Provincetown Art Association and Museum

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Downtown Provincetown, Massachusetts, has a new sustainable art center designed to promote the health of its occupants, art collection and the indoor and exterior environment. The 19,500 sf expansion of the existing Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) building "created new galleries, new storage areas, and an expanded museum school" and accomplished these programmatic goals while still meeting a sustainable mandate by the client. The successful integration of museum program and sustainable strategies has garnered the project significant attention including an Honorable Mention in the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) 2007 Top Ten Green Projects Awards and a LEED NC Silver Certification.

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Project designers, Machado-Silvetti Associates Architects, point out that "from the beginning of the project, the Museum (PAAM) clearly expressed its objectives." PAAM, you see, has a mission of "sustain(ing) and nurture(ing) an artistic culture in the beautiful yet fragile ecology of Cape Cod through exhibitions, classes, public lectures and social events." This program is not unique to museums but is noteworthy because of it's emphasis on local factors. Whether it is a result of the location on Cape Cod or the mission of the organization itself, the work housed at PAAM is mostly local. This mission to work within their local community established a perfect ideological framework from which to plan their newest renovation. It also meant that sustainability of the environment, economy and community were paramount to the project and that these concerns would inform decisions made on the project.

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Sustainable features of the project include:

  • Parking for employees only (eight spaces)
  • Bike racks and showers to encourage cycling to work
  • Porous paving materials
  • Rainwater storage tanks
  • No irrigation landscaping
  • Low-flow toilets and fixtures / waterless urinals
  • Super insulated envelope
  • Efficient furnaces
  • Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)
  • Extensive daylighting
  • Low VOC / durable / renewable interior materials
  • and a photovoltaic array

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For more information on the PAAM project please visit:


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