The Menokin Exhibition and Conservation Center


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In the 18th century the Menokin site became the plantation home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The Georgian mansion, built for Lee and his wife in 1769, has been vacant and slowly deteriorating since 1960, and is currently unstable with over 80% of its original material in a state of collapse. The Menokin Foundation aspires to approach the conservation and interpretation of the house in a truly innovative and revolutionary way. Their philosophy is to stabilize and exhibit the historic fabric that remains, while giving the public a unique understanding of the irreplaceable portions of the artifact, and by representing them with a completely different material; glass. The Foundation selected an interdisciplinary group of respected professionals led by Machado Silvetti to address this challenge.

Described by Wall Street Journal architectural critic Michael Lewis as, “the most fiercely ambitious historic restoration project in America today,” the project concept proposes to stabilize, preserve and interpret the Menokin House (a National Historic Landmark) and its ancillary buildings and landscape, while featuring the delicate marriage of the "old" and "new." This approach maintains the distinct characters of "old" and "new" and establishes a necessary synergetic relationship between the formal, environmental and structural interdependence between the two.

At present, consturction is underway on the stabilization of the existing building and fundraising is ongoing for the glass enclosure.


Read More:
The Architecture of Cultural Heritage
“Neither Ruin nor Replica: The restoration of Virginia’s Menokin plantation house takes a sophisticated, ambitious approach to historic preservation,” Wall Street Journal

Year: Ongoing
Client:
The Menokin Foundation
Location:
Warsaw, Virginia

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