The Museum of Modern Art
The Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center
Hamlin, PA

38,000 SF • 3,530 SQ M

The Bartos Center is the new permanent home for MoMA’s film and video collections — the most comprehensive and, by many standards, the most important in the world. The 38,000 sf Center provides double the storage space currently needed and will accommodate growth well into the 21st century.

The facility is conceptually two separate buildings.  The first is a series of explosion-proof concrete vaults housing the fragile and extremely volatile nitrate film collection.  The second is a more flexible Preservation Center, designed as a building within a building to shield the acetate film holdings from environmental fluctuations. This sector also provides preservation labs, a conference facility, and storage for ancillary material such as posters and memorabilia. Structure throughout is a long-span truss system that provides the necessary clear space for the nitrate vaults and program flexibility everywhere else. The volumes of the building evolve from the grid established by this structure.

The remote location in the Pocono Mountains ensures pollutant-free air to ventilate sensitive materials. We took advantage of the pastoral 38-acre site to design a cloistered compound that reflects the artistic and scholarly aspects of the Center’s work. At the same time, the functional expression of concrete, glass, and metal elements places the building squarely in the present, and contrasts with the natural surroundings to set the complex off as a group of objects in the landscape.