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Press Release - New Education and Visitor Center Construction to Get Under Way

April 18, 2013

 

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View of the Garden Court through the Central Garden of the new Education and Visitor Center scheduled to open in early 2015 at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Architectural Resources Group and Office of Cheryl Barton, ©Art Zendarski.

View of the Garden Court through the Central Garden of the new Education and Visitor Center scheduled to open in early 2015 at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Architectural Resources Group and Office of Cheryl Barton, © Art Zendarski.


April 18, 2013

 

SAN MARINO, Calif.—The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has broken ground on a new Education and Visitor Center scheduled to open in early 2015. The $60 million project features 6.5 acres of new gardens and about 43,000 square feet of educational facilities and visitor amenities.

 

Designed by Architectural Resources Group, the complex of buildings is intended to harmonize with the original early 20th-century Beaux-Arts architecture on the property (once the estate of Gilded Age railroad magnate, real estate developer, and collector Henry E. Huntington). The new center’s gardens, designed by the landscape architecture firm Office of Cheryl Barton, will play a central role in the project and reflect the local Mediterranean climate as well as both the agricultural and elegant estate history of the 207-acre grounds. Much of the new construction will replace existing facilities built in 1980 that no longer accommodate the needs of Huntington visitors, scholars, or staff.

 

“As The Huntington strengthens its programmatic offerings and works to provide the highest-quality experience for all who come here—from school children on a field trip to adults attending a lecture, from longtime members to those here for the first time—we know it’s important to have a way to properly welcome and host them,” said Steven S. Koblik, president of The Huntington. “A great deal of discussion and careful planning has gone into this project to bring it to this point, and it’s wonderfully satisfying to be breaking ground now, knowing we have an elegant solution to a long recognized shortcoming. We are incredibly excited.”

 

The new facility will provide much improved amenities for the more than 550,000 visitors who come to The Huntington each year; the 1,500 scholars who conduct research there; and the thousands of Southern California school children and their teachers who visit on field trips to learn about art, history, literature, and botanical science. The new Education and Visitor Center will include a 400-seat lecture hall and four classrooms as well as meeting rooms and an expanded café and gift shop. 

 

The project also includes the addition of more than 40,000 square feet of underground storage space for The Huntington’s growing collections of rare historical research and other materials.

 

Aside from purely functional concerns, the architectural team gave a great deal of thought to how people would feel in the complex—considering carefully the volume of each interior space, the height of the ceilings, the direction the light comes from, and what people would see from each vantage point.

 

“We want people inhabiting these spaces to feel that they are in a special place, connected in important ways to the original estate,” said Stephen Farneth, founding principal of Architectural Resources Group. “To accomplish that, we maintained a residential scale, incorporating natural light, views, and access to garden spaces throughout the complex.

 

The Education and Visitor Center is funded through private sources with fundraising actively under way.

 

Entrance area during construction

In early June, The Huntington’s existing entrance pavilion will close, and a new temporary complex for admissions and the gift shop will welcome visitors during the construction period. The fence surrounding the construction zone will serve as a thousand-foot-long canvas for students of Esteban E. Torres High School in East Los Angeles. The result of a fine arts, photography, creative writing, and graphic design work-study program in a partnership with The Huntington, the fence project is curated by Susan Simpson, artist and faculty member at Cal Arts, Valencia, Calif.

Programming during construction

The Huntington’s usual array of events, talks, lectures, classes, and special exhibitions will continue during construction of the Education and Visitor Center. Visitors can look forward to the following exhibitions opening this summer: “Useful Hours: Needlework and Painted Textiles from Southern California Collections” (June 1–Sept. 2, 2013, in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing); “Illuminated Palaces: Extra-Illustrated Books from the Huntington Library” (July 27–Oct. 28, 2013, in the Library, West Hall); and “Junipero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions” (Aug. 17, 2013–Jan. 6, 2014, in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries, Erburu Wing).

 

In the fall, The Huntington is the exclusive venue for the major international loan exhibition “Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance Painting” (Sept. 28, 2013–Jan. 13, 2014, in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery); and the historic Main Exhibition Hall of the original 1919 Library building reopens Nov. 9 after renovation and the installation of a completely new $1.4 million display.
Exhibitions planned for 2014 will be announced later this year.

CONTACTS:  Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, tpage@huntington.org
                         Susan Turner-Lowe, 626-405-2147, sturner@huntington.org

 

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution artist’s renderings available on request for publicity use.]

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About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org.

Visitor information
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 students (ages 12–18 or with full-time student I.D.), $8 youth (ages 5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate, $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends: $23 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5. Group rate, $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of each month with advance tickets. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.

Architectural Resources Group, Inc.
With offices in San Francisco, Pasadena, and Portland, Ore., Architectural Resources Group’s practice focuses on helping people realize opportunities in the historic built environment to create great places, enhance investment, and enliven community. More information is available at argsf.com.

Office of Cheryl Barton
OCB, San Francisco, is committed to the creation of healthy cities, robust ecologies, and beautiful, habitable spaces, integrating a strong design ethic with the principles of regenerative thinking. More information is available at toocb.com.

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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