SO-IL Architects Chosen to Design New Building for Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts
SO-IL Architects has been chosen to develop the conceptual design for a new building for the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The project is set to provide the first stand-alone facility for WCMA, and will feature teaching spaces, collections, exhibitions and programs that will transform the museum’s engagement with the campus, as well as the Williamstown community and the Berkshires cultural region. The architecture firm was commended for its “inventive and enthusiastic approach to the museum’s teaching mission”, putting art at the center of academia, student life, the campus, and community.
The new museum will be located on the former site of the Williams Inn in Williamstown, offering substantial gallery space to exhibit more of the 15,000 works in the museum’s collection. The space will be designed as a collaborative work environment, and will feature dedicated gathering spaces for the community. Sustainability will be a driving force in all design and operations decisions, allowing users to reflect and respond to the surrounding landscape.
Williams College President Maud S. Mandel selected SO-IL among 40 national and international architecture firms, following the recommendation of a 12-member Architect Selection Committee composed of college representatives from WCMA, the faculty, and across campus, who all brought their collective expertise in arts, architecture, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and community engagement to the process.
SO – IL’s New Art Campus in Brooklyn to Open this Summer
In parallel to the design work of the new museum, there are also plans for a detailed programming study of historic Lawrence Hall to explore complementarities with the new museum and understand its full potential as an arts and academic space. Once the conceptual design phase is complete, which is expected to last approximately eight months, the project is scheduled to proceed in alignment with WCMA’s centennial year of 2026-27.
The new museum will connect the campus to the larger cultural ecosystem of the Northern Berkshires and provide an opportunity to advance innovative, sustainable building and museum practices, offering students invaluable expertise in responsible stewardship.– Jing Liu and Florian Idenburg, SO-IL co-founders.
Earlier this year, the United States Artists Fellowship Award was awarded SO-IL, an annual grant recognizes the “most compelling artists working and living in the United States, in all disciplines, at every stage of their career”. Among the 63 recipients of 2022, SO-IL, and 4 other firms, were selected from the fields of architecture and design with the aim of strengthening and enriching the industry and their communities.