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Science Museum of Virginia Renovations

Richmond, Virginia
Science Museum of Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia
BCWH Architects, Architect of Record, with Pfeiffer Partners, Design Architect
25,300 square feet

The Science Museum of Virginia was a rail station until the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased it to be the Science Museum of Virginia in 1977. Several additions and renovations occurred throughout the ensuing years. The most recent is a 9,300 square foot renovation to the Main Concourse Gallery and a new, 16,000 square foot special events center.

Renovations to the 1919 building made space for a Lockheed Blackbird SR-71 supersonic jet airplane for the museum’s “Speed” exhibit. The Cold War era spy plane had been on display outside at the Virginia Aviation Museum at the Richmond International Airport. The construction team renovated the main concourse, coordinated the disassembly and transport of the plane from the airport, and reinstalled the plane within the refurbished space – all while the building remained open to the public. The team turned the construction process into an exhibit, allowing visitors to view the plane as it went into the space.

The new Dewey Gottwald Center is a sleek steel and glass structure with a dynamic floor plan and contemporary finishes. The center has a private entry with direct access to convenient parking and is available for educational, commercial, social and cultural events. The museum uses the space for national-caliber traveling exhibits that require carefully controlled humidity, temperature, and lighting. The center is seeking USGBC LEED Silver certification for sustainable design and construction practices.

This project has been awarded a 2017 Best Cultural/Worship Project by Engineering News Record Mid-Atlantic region. These awards recognize the ability of the project team to overcome challenges, contribution to the industry and community, safety, and construction and design quality.