Cleveland Museum of Art Renovation and Addition

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Project Description

Karpinski Engineering partnered with the Cleveland Museum of Art for its expansive two-phase, 12-year renovation and addition project. In the course of the project, the Museum:

  • Restored the original 1916 museum building and renovated the1971 north wing, designed by renowned architect Marcel Breuer.
  • Demolished the cobbled-on east and west wings, which connected the original 1916 building and the 1971 Breuer building but interfered with the patron flow in the Museum galleries.
  • Constructed a new east wing, west wing, and atrium. These additions gave a new coherence and refreshed aesthetic to the Museum buildings.The new east and west wings replaced the two buildings that had been demolished, and the glass-roofed atrium enclosed the former courtyard and became a new interior space.

The following are three key areas of KE's contributions:

Atrium: Perpetual summer in a 4-season city

The 39,000-SF atrium was envisioned as a new public space for the city of Cleveland. It is about the size of a football field, and its expansive skylight covers the whole space.

The skylight consists of 96 panels (designed by the German engineering firm Gartner) that use hollow mullion supports through which piped, heated or cooled, water can flow. The KE team designed and coordinated the installation of the piping that conditions the skylight panel mullion support system—removing condensation and snow in winter, and reducing solar and conduction heat gain in summer.


Following concepts established by the lead engineer for Phase I, Karpinski Engineering designed air conditioning systems that met the galleries’ tight tolerances for temperature and humidity—70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% relative humidity in all galleries (as well as art storage and restoration areas) at all times.

1916 Historical Building Renovation

The 1916 building is the Museum’s original space, and it is a work of art. The team was responsible for restoring the building and updating it to serve the Museum’s current and future needs.

Services: Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, as well as fire protection and life safety design, for the project. Sub-consultant for Phase I; lead engineer for Phase II.



Project Stats
Completion Date: 2013
Project Cost: $320,000,000.00
City: Cleveland
State: Ohio
Name: Cleveland Museum of Art