The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art asked Riverside Design to provide architectural and installation design for a new satellite facility in Ligonier, PA. Funded by the R.K. Mellon Foundation and SAMA, the museum board required a building that would blend with Ligonier’s rural vernacular and utilize four dismantled log cabins from the 1800’s that they wished to incorporate into a new facility.

We created a cross-axial building composed of two main programmatic elements: 1) an entry, offices, and multi-purpose rooms, and 2) exhibition and storage space. On an axis facing the main road, we recycled the log cabins to house the first portion of the program. In the multi-purpose rooms, we opted to leave out the second floor entirely and created double height spaces that give unexpected volume and light for art classes and workshops.

Along the west/east axis, the Entry Gallery opens toward a hint of the museum’s paperweight collection and Main Gallery behind. We designed an architectonic paperweight display to act as a transitional screen between the recycled log section and new construction. The “paperweight wall” adds a layer of complexity to a simply conceived plan. Visitors walk around the jewel like paperweight display as they enter a 16 foot high barn inspired Main Gallery space.

Cherry flooring, donated from local forests, gives a warm continuous ground plane. The building’s logs, indigenous stone, and cherry wood evoke the rural landscape.