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Bridgette Mayer Gallery


Bridgette Mayer wished to enlarge her eponymous gallery on Philadelphia’s Washington Square into a premier contemporary art venue. The 19th century residence was previously converted to apartments with a ground-floor gallery. Comprised of two original front rooms, the gallery’s configuration limited the scale of artwork that could be displayed. Merging the first-floor rear apartment and cellar expanded the gallery, accommodating large installation art within a contemporary environment.

Negotiating a warren of small rooms, masonry protrusions, and ceiling planes meant centralizing the architectural intervention. This approach eliminated all of the small rooms and carefully positioned two overlapping ‘white boxes’ within the building envelope to mitigate varying vertical and horizontal planes and create the largest possible continuous surfaces on which large artworks could be displayed. Through sensitive planning and thoughtful material choices, CBP Architects left the experience of observing art unencumbered by architectural gestures; simple shapes and quiet detailing define the interconnected spaces. Where the galleries intersect, an original brick vault became an intimate space for displaying smaller works. Minimalist detailing includes a steel channel recessed into the floor to signal the limit of approach to each piece of artwork. A slot between the walls and ceiling conceals mechanical vents and allows the walls to visually float. Museum-quality fixtures provide optimum artwork lighting while hidden LEDs illuminate and reinforce architectural elements. The cellar became an administrative and sales center, with service and storage spaces. The design resulted from a highly collaborative process in which the owner, her advisors, and CBP Architects achieved graceful equilibrium.

  • Project Category

    Institutional, Civic & Commercial

  • Client

    Bridgette Mayer

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA

  • Number of Stories


  • Gross Floor Area

    3,000 sf

  • Program

    Art Gallery