Extraordinary Museum Project Completed In Historic Roanoke, VA

September 28, 2010

The Balfour Beatty Construction team has completed the 30-month construction of the new Taubman Museum of Art, a $45-million, 81,000-square-foot cultural facility designed to visually represent the surrounding mountains and Roanoke’s culture. The new museum is an extraordinary addition to the historic downtown Roanoke, VA, landscape, featuring space in which the museum will house its growing collection of art, as well as provide for future art awareness and education. Lead architect Randall Stout Architects, Inc., Los Angeles, worked in conjunction with associate architects Rodriguez Ripley Maddux Motley Architects of Roanoke. The Taubman Museum of Art opened its doors to the public on November 8, 2008, welcoming visitors to its dynamic and flowing spaces.

The goal of the project was not only to allow the museum to grow, but also to be an architectural tribute to the city and the Blue Ridge Mountains backdrop behind it. The museum project has earned recognition in design and construction excellence.

Unique Structure

The steel frame structure of the museum incorporated 1,200 tons of steel, carefully erected to accommodate the complexity of the design. To get the curvatures just right, the steel was fabricated with the aid of a three-dimensional model. The complicated steel erection was divided into distinct elements to sequence the construction.

Construction Materials

The curving arches and atypical angles of the museum’s exterior consist of stone, high-performance glass panels, stainless steel and zinc metal panels. In addition, various materials were utilized to meet the needs of the individual interior spaces throughout the Taubman Museum of Art. On the first floor, Hokie Stone (purchased from a Virginia Tech-owned quarry) on the walls is contrasted with a Turkish travertine throughout the 11,000-square-foot atrium and vestibules. Acoustical plaster and insulation behind perforated zinc were used to meet the acoustical needs of the atrium and adjoining areas. The entire second floor is covered with maple flooring and complemented with a luminous ceiling. There are also several large custom doors that are used to allow easy setup of exhibitions. The doors were incorporated into the walls to visually minimize their appearance when the museum is open to the public. The third floor is constructed over an access floor system that allows the Taubman Museum of Art flexibility with its administrative areas, as well as facilitates the use of an under-floor HVAC distribution system.

Major Construction Team Members

Major specialty contractors for the museum’s construction include Superior Steel, structural steel; Environmental Air Systems, mechanical and plumbing; Varney, electrical and specialty systems; A. Zahner Company, exterior metal panels; Permasteelisa, exterior glass and glazing; Lorton Contracting Company, Hokie Stone and atrium flooring; and Gaithersburg Cabinetry & Millwork Co., millwork.