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  • Arizona Contractor & Community

Museum-Quality Construction at the Heard

The challenge was considerable: How best to link five generations of buildings dating back almost 90 years at The Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art, one of Arizona’s most renowned institutions? The solution to the compartmentalized layout was a crosswalk linking the two second-story floors. The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust Crosswalk now connects the East Gallery Boarding School exhibit and the central Grand Staircase.

Architect Dan Clevenger with DLR Group | Westlake Reed Leskosky designed the project. Improving the buildings’ flow will enhance the museum’s 120,000 annual visitor’s experience at the Heard Museum. Okland Construction in Tempe was the contractor on the project.

The construction project also renovated and combined the two east galleries to create more than 7,000 square feet of changing exhibition space. The new space, called the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Grand Gallery, will include state of the art museum climate controls, digital communication platforms for interactive exhibit technologies, and 18-foot ceilings with expandable and efficient gallery lighting. The larger space will be able to accommodate national touring exhibitions.

One of these is the new exhibition, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, which runs through August. “This is the only North American stop on a limited world tour for this exhibit, so it's a pretty big deal for the Heard,” says Jessica Pate of OHPARTNERS. “It helps that they have this brand new gallery to showcase such iconic artists. “

Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard founded the museum to house their personal Native American art collection, much of which came from the La Ciudad ruin located at 19th and Polk streets in Phoenix. Famed local architect Bennie Gonzales designed portions of the museum.

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