Allied Works Architecture, an award-winning design practice with offices in Portland, Oregon, and New York City, has been selected to lead an expansion and renovation of the Vero Beach Museum of Art (VBMA) in Florida. Debuting in 1986 as the Center for the Arts, the nonprofit institution serves as the principal visual arts museum on Florida’s three-county Treasure Coast region and anchors the city of Vero Beach’s barrier island-bound Riverside Park.
Allied Works was selected by VBMA following an extensive nine-month search assisted by architect selection advisor David Meckel. A total of 13 firms were in the running, with Allied Works selected from a shortlist of four. Other Allied Works–helmed arts and cultural projects include the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio; Benton County Historical Society’s Corvallis Museum in Oregon; the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver; and the in-progress new home for the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University. In a press announcement, the VBMA noted that Allied Works is “known for its quietly powerful museum architecture in service of art.”
Allied Works founder Brad Cloepfil along with principals Chelsea Grassinger and Gabe Smith will lead the design team for the VBMA project.
Per the museum, the planned expansion and renovation is focused on “building resiliency and future growth needs” in a state that’s experiencing both rapid population growth and the devastating threats of rising seas and extreme weather fueled by climate change. (Across the state on the Gulf Coast, the WEISS/Manfredi-led redesign of the Baker Museum in North Naples addressed similar concerns.) The expansion and renovation follows a handful of other capital projects at the museum’s seven-acre campus carried out over the past 35 years including the addition (and subsequent expansion of) the popular Alice and Jim Beckwirth Sculpture Park and a new 20,000 square foot exhibitions and collections wing that joined the original (and previously expanded) neoclassical museum building in 2012.
Today, the VBMA, which opened with a modest footprint just under 30,000 square feet, spans 75,000 square feet and is home to a robust permanent collection of American art, bolstered by frequently rotating temporary exhibitions, a dedicated interactive space for children, and a diverse range of public programs including a lecture series, film screenings, and more.
“Brad, Chelsea, Gabe and their team fully embraced the complexities and opportunities of our project, which involves opening up to a lush park environment while simultaneously building out a more resilient campus,” said Brady Roberts, executive director and CEO of the VBMA. “Allied Works has the right experience—including extensive experience working on museums in high humidity coastal areas—and the creative design thinking to address these challenges.”
Design work will kick off this summer with what the museum described as an “intensive research and exploration phase.” As noted in the announcement, “inspiration and influence for the eventual design will come from the landscape as the team employs a holistic resiliency strategy that extends well beyond the Museum’s facade.”
The VBMA revamp is slated for completion in 2026. AN will report back when a design is revealed.