Thompson Exhibition Building

The 14,000-square-foot building is located where the Seaport’s previous indoor-oriented exhibit spaces were concentrated, and forms the new Donald C. McGraw Gallery Quadrangle. This sociable greensward, with a panoramic view of the Mystic River, provides an appealing venue for activities ranging from outdoor concerts to impromptu picnics.

Thompson Exhibition Building - Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners - Photography: Jeff Goldberg

Thompson Exhibition Building – Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners – Photography: Jeff Goldberg

In addition to a 5,000-square- foot exhibition gallery with a high ceiling for displaying boats, the building features visitor reception and events space, a retail shop, a café and outdoor terraces overlooking the Mystic River. Energy-efficient components and geothermal heating and cooling are also incorporated in the design.

Thompson Exhibition Building - Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners - Photography: Jeff Goldberg

Thompson Exhibition Building – Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners – Photography: Jeff Goldberg

The flexible exhibition space features soaring ceilings and demountable walls to accommodate objects of varying size and installations of all types, from watercraft to priceless works of fine art and gallery-based educational programs. A riverfront gathering room graces the west side of the building and can be reconfigured for conferences, additional gallery space, or educational programs, adding to the new building’s versatility.

Thompson Exhibition Building - Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners - Photography: Jeff Goldberg

Thompson Exhibition Building – Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners – Photography: Jeff Goldberg

The Thompson Exhibition Building incorporates a wraparound deck that allows visitors to enjoy the riverside setting and serve as a covered overlook to the Quadrangle green.

Thompson Exhibition Building - Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners - Photography: ESTO Photographics

Thompson Exhibition Building – Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners – Photography: ESTO Photographics

The structure’s asymmetrically curving roof and end walls recall nautical themes while also establishing a contemporary architectural presence amid a recreated 19th century maritime village. Site development also opens views of the Mystic River from Greenmanville Avenue.

Thompson Exhibition Building - Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners - Photography: ESTO Photographics

Thompson Exhibition Building – Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners – Photography: ESTO Photographics

Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea, was founded in 1929 and is the home to the Charles W. Morgan, the nation’s last remaining wooden whaling ship.

Thompson Exhibition Building - Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners - Photography: Jeff Goldberg

Thompson Exhibition Building – Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners – Photography: Jeff Goldberg

Project Info
Architects: Centerbrook Architects and Planners
Location: Connecticut, United States
Architect in Charge: Chad Floyd, FAIA; Charles G. Mueller, AIA, ALA
Area: 21.681 ft2
Year: 2016
Type: Exhibition
Photographs: Jeff Goldberg, ESTO Photographics

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