Expansion as an Art: Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences

by Stanley Collyer


Initial proposal by ©VOA
Adding space to an existing museum to improve its functionality can be a daunting challenge. Confronted with such a scenario, the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences turned to a competition to arrive at an innovative solution to its expansion plans. Limited to architectural firms based in Florida, the competition was conducted in two stages — the first stage consisting of a short list based on expressions of interest, followed by a submission of designs by finalists.
The history of Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) is similar to many museums, in that new wings were added to accommodate a larger collection. The level of the West Wing of the museum, located 30” below the main structure, can only be reached by a ramp, and is prone to flooding. To eliminate the need to move exhibits from this wing every time it is threatened by water, MOAS decided to demolish the existing wing and build a slightly larger structure to replace it at the same level as the rest of the museum complex. At the same time, they wanted to address the expansion of an entrance lobby, with the intention that it also be used for special events. The latter was considered to be a second phase if sufficient funding did not become immediately available. However, this latter phase of the program is certainly important to the image of MOAS, because it would provide it with a new sense of arrival for visitors.

As a multi-functional museum, MOAS is home to various types of activities and exhibits. In addition to a planetarium, its collection includes natural history, archeology, science, and art — Cuban, American, Afro-American, crafts and even a Coca Cola exhibit. As such, it has a major educational component as its mission. Combining so many different agendas might be considered a weakness of mission by many museum administrators; but here it can also be an advantage, bringing many visitors to a site where they can be exposed to a large variety of subjects that otherwise might not be high on their list of priorities.

The museum’s $7.5 million budget for this expansion might be considered modest by comparison with expansion plans of some museums: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s expansion will be in excess of $200 million; Louisville’s Speed Art Museum’s expansion budget is $79 million. Still, for a relatively small community, where snowbirds make up a considerable segment of the local population, this plan is ambitious in its own right. The budget for for new West Wing, including demolition is approximately $6 million. If the new entrance, Grand Lobby design and Observatory are added to the mix, the total will be slightly over $7.5 million.

nitial presentation drawings by ©VOA. The design was refined after jury input.
To administer the competition, MOAS engaged James Bannon, AIA, RIBA of DACORI Design and Construction, as a consultant. The subsequent RfQ limited to Florida firms, resulted in three shortlisted firms as finalists:
  • VOA , Orlando, Florida office
  • HOK, Tampa, Florida office
  • Architects Design Group, Winter Park, Florida

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