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The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) is an organization dedicated to the exhibition and collection of art, as well as the education of the public in the arts. Since it´s founding in 1914, the museum has always fostered exhibitions and programs that serve both the artist and lay communities. The organization acquired its current site in 1918, and over the years several additions were built to accommodate growing membership.
The renovation and expansion to PAAM created a new architectural identity for the institution, while improving PAAM´s ability to display and store art. The objectives for the project included establishing a clear entry for the Museum that incorporated an existing historic structure; developing a clear sequence of gallery spaces that could be used individually or collectively; and expanding the Museum School and art storage areas.
The project was realized in two phases. The first involved the renovation of the Hargood House and two galleries, making a library and expanding the office spaces. This was followed by a second phase of new construction. This included creating the Patrons, Jalbert and Duffy Galleries, as well as much needed new art storage areas and an expanded Museum School. In contrast to the existing galleries, which are closed within the building, the new ones open towards Commercial Street, Provincetown´s major pedestrian thoroughfare. This gesture is meant to literally and figuratively open the institution to the community. As part of the second phase, all of the building´s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were replaced, and the building was brought into compliance with current building and ADA codes. All told, the work took nearly three years to complete and has roughly doubled the size of the institution.
PAAM was designed to rigorous standards of sustainable design and has earned a Silver LEED rating. PAAM is the first LEED rated art museum in the United States. Significant aspects of PAAM´s green design include a thermally efficient building "skin," the use of natural light and a "daylight dimming" system for the galleries and studio spaces, a photovoltaic array on the new roof. The building also has a "natural ventilation system" which, when appropriate, allows the building to be cooled with outside air.