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Allentown Art Museum Celebrates New Look with Rock Legends
Publication Date
February 5th 2012

Allentown Museum Exterior

 Elvis Presley. The Beatles. Bob Dylan. LL Cool J. Eminem. All were present to celebrate the newly renovated Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, PA, and its newly expanded $15.4 million space. Well, sort of…


After being closed for a planned, 16-month renovation and expansion, the Allentown Art Museum celebrated it's reopening with the Brooklyn Museum’s traveling photography exhibit, “Who Shot Rock & Roll,” displayed in the new, 7,900-SF addition.


Opened to the public on Saturday, February 11, 2012 and anticipated to run through May 13, 2012, the exhibit features more than 175 images of the biggest names in rock and roll, including candid photos, publicity shots, album cover art, videos and images of their live performances. It is part of a greater campaign, “Rock Through the Valley,” which ties into other celebrations of rock & roll throughout the Lehigh Valley.


Designed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA), the reinvigorated Museum provides a more modern and welcoming atmosphere for the 100,000 people who visit every year. Urban, working in close coordination with VSBA, provided Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection (MEP/FP) services for the new addition. The project aligns with the existing, historic 1901 church building, which housed the museum from 1959 to 1975. The new space includes an expanded museum store, 3,000 SF of new gallery space, more classroom space and additional storage for the Museum’s permanent collection. “Designing a building system to accommodate the sensitive environments of museums is always a challenging task,” said Urban’s Construction Manager for the addition, Tom DiCampli, LEED® GA. “Having to integrate the new systems with existing historic facilities significantly increased the complexity.”


The Museum, which presents over 10,000 works of art from over 40 different periods, depends on controlled environments to preserve precious collections. “Museums have 24-hour, 365-days-per-year MEP/FP requirements,” said DiCampli. “Remember, even after visitors leave, the lights are turned off, and the doors are locked, our building systems must continue to provide accurate temperature and humidity control for the remaining occupants…the exhibits.”