The Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon came to us in search of guidance on how to transform the first floor of their historical estate house into a makerspace and series of multi-functional spaces collectively known as The Nest.
For MABA’s twentieth anniversary in 2020, they will be breaking ground and building an addition to their art museum, almost doubling the size of the public space of the museum. Although, it was originally built as a private home and the museum itself served as a private art studio, when it was adapted to its current function the building was not significantly changed.
The Nest will be a multisensory hands-on art and design project that cultivates a stronger bond to natural systems and enhances understanding of essential STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) concepts by creating A Nature Inspired Maker Space, Design Workshop, and Art Studio, an immersive exhibit, design space, and art studio environment that integrates nature, art, and science.
Through a series of office and on-site meetings with the museum’s education director, Sean Kent, we defined their goals and scope for the project and how impactful our design interventions should be. We learned that the house had a dense network of passageways that needed to be reorganized into a coherent entrance to the Nest. In addition, an old sunroom had been relegated to a storage room and they had a desire to upgrade the entrance and bathroom to ADA standards.
To address all of their project goals in smaller bite size chunks that allow MABA to build out the Nest as funding becomes available, we designed a series of surgical interventions (Modification Menu) to encourage efficient building circulation, programmatic functionality, and dynamic space configurations. This design approach offers two distinct options which acknowledge project phasing as funding becomes available. The Museum can choose to act on some, or all of the items on the menu. This enables them to pick and choose how to renovate the spaces based on their priorities.
1. Reconfigure the kitchen and building entry to encourage a clearer line of circulation and relationship
between the makerspace and the building entry.
2. Add mobile makerspace carts. Carts to be stored in existing storage closet while not in use.
3. Folding tables to be stored in existing storage closet while not in use.
4. Add build-in casework for laser cutter and large format printer.
5. Add a full-height display cabinet in the ceremonial entrance to showcase art produced
inside the makerspace.
6. Add mobile storage racks in existing storage room
7. Relocate reception desk in entry 1 to create a more defined entry lobby
8. Demolish the existing back of house stair and relocate slop sink to accommodate ADA bathroom,
new material storage room, and new makerspace storage closet/photo documentation booth.
9. Furr out wall to add depth to makerspace table storage closet and add new peg rack and tool
storage. Add floor-to-ceiling sliding doors with writable surfaces in front of closet to reconfigure
based on programmatic need.
10. Add stair down to basement to replace existing back of house stair.
11. Remove wall within room 3 and add other structural elements as required.
12. Re-purpose existing storage room as makerspace lounge space.
13. Regrade entry path and existing landscape.
Sketch of Proposed Display Cabinet in Ceremonial Entrance
Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon: