A Museum Milestone—A Gateway to the Future
With its gleaming rows of windows, bright interior, and twin cathedral-like entrances, the landmark Art Deco building on Fairmount and Pennsylvania avenues was called "the Gateway to Fairmount Park" when it opened in 1927 as the headquarters for the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company. It has now been dramatically recast in a new role as the gateway to the future for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the first phase of a master plan to expand and modernize the Museum.
Set within a lively urban neighborhood, commanding a spectacular view of Fairmount Park, and just across the street from the main building, the new galleries and study centers showcase some of the Museum's most comprehensive, colorful, and cutting-edge collections. In addition, the new spaces offer a variety of other wonderful new amenities. Among them are a library open to the public and offering a wealth of resources, including ever-changing displays of rare books, precious documents, and graphic arts; a café overlooking a landscaped terrace; a new bookstore; a soaring skylit walkway; and a succession of other spaces in which to stroll, linger, and explore the visual arts.
The building occupies a two-acre site bordered by Pennsylvania and Fairmount Avenues and 25th and 26th Streets in Philadelphia. It faces the main Museum building across Kelly Drive and is among the most distinctive architectural structures along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, featuring one of the city's most elaborate Art Deco facades.
In 2001, Gluckman Mayner Architects was selected for the Perelman project. In October 2004, following a groundbreaking celebration for its donors, the major construction began in earnest and the original building was expanded by a 59,000-square-foot addition. As a focus for learning, connoisseurship, and sheer enjoyment of works of art, the Perelman Building is an important catalyst for the Philadelphia region's ongoing cultural renaissance.