Straus Center for Conservation, Harvard Art Museums

The Straus Center for Conservation was SAA’s very first conservation laboratory, completed in 1996. As we started the process of designing a facility about which we knew very little, we visited many other labs and discovered the pitfalls of failing to address the technical challenges of dynamic solvent exhausts, x-radiation shielding, and numerous other esoteric essentials. We studied how to address these issues, but we also aspired to fulfill the wish of James Cuno, director of the Harvard Art Museums, to reassert the department's premier leadership in conservation, research, and training by designing a beautiful light-filled space that inspires creativity and collaboration. Upon completion, Straus Center director Henry Lie reported, "The staff is ecstatic."

Client: Harvard Art Museums (James Cuno, Fran Beane, Henry Lie, Craigen Bowen, Tony Sigel, Terri Hensick, Kate Olivier, Eugene Farrell, Nancy Buschini, Anne Driesse)
Design Team: Edward Gormley, Alexy Grigorieff, Serverud, Exergen, Thompson Engineering
Builder: Shawmut, Mark Richey (millwork)
Photographer: Paul Warchol

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