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Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences

Gilbane provided construction management services for the historical renovation and addition to the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.

New Glass Floor Shines Light through History into the Great Hall

Brooklyn’s historical landmark required renovations, a service extension addition and significant MEP upgrades to accommodate for the museum’s complex climate control needs. Gilbane managed the phased construction services with a focus on maintaining the historical integrity of museum elements, including building a new floor over the severely deteriorated original glass-block floor of the Museum’s largest public space, Beaux-Arts Court.

The original floor panels are obscured but still visible through the new glass. This approach allowed for the creation of a new, structurally sound floor constructed of entirely new materials while all existing historical fabric remains in place. Moreover, in the Great Hall, located directly below the Court, the original coffering is now visible, as a result of removing the panels once installed under the vulnerable glass-block floor (in effect, the Hall’s ceiling) as a protective measure. From the Great Hall, the view upward to the original glass blocks is essentially as built, and the amount of light transmitted is not noticeably reduced. Other components of the project included:

  • Multiple gallery renovations
  • Interior basement renovation
  • Service extension addition
  • Mechanical system upgrades
  • Highly coordinated security plan

Client Value

The team’s value engineering efforts allowed for a new method for renovation which resulted in the project cost coming in $1.6 million under the original budget, allowing for most of the gallery space to remain open to the public during construction, and retaining the historical appearance of the original glass floor.

I commend the team for their responsiveness to the museum’s needs and their cultural attention to detail on this unique project. In addition to landmark issues, the sensitive nature of our collections, the ongoing use of adjacent spaces, and the schedule offered many challenges which Gilbane and their subcontractors dealt with admirably.

Ann Kaufman Webster, Vice Director, Planning & Architecture, Brooklyn Museum