NB Whaling Museum

studio2sustain was invited to present a conceptual design for an addition to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. We expanded the initial scope to embrace a long-term plan. Our design included a comprehensive vision for sustainable improvements across the site that celebrated the history of whaling and the museum’s commitment to conservation and education.

We superimposed sketches onto photographs to convey our ideas.

Union Street Rendering

Our design uses the metaphor of a whaling ship on a voyage that harnesses energy from the sky and conserves resources for a long journey. We build on the metaphor with images, materials, form and light throughout the addition.

Water Street Rendering

The building’s structure recalls the ribs and jawbone of a whale and the frames of a ship. Long curving “ribs,” exposed on the exterior of the building, create scale and rhythm, which match the typical bays found on Water Street. These rib columns, in stainless steel sheathing, contrast with the warm infill cladding of a roman brick, echoing the horizontality of ship’s planking, and in harmony with the adjacent buildings. At the third floor, the cladding changes to curtain-wall glass, continuing the imagery of the ocean with a fine horizon line where sky meets water: glass meets solid wall.

Above the roof rises an ephemeral structure of sails and rigging – a series of solar panel “sails” and small wind turbines.