He said he also is fascinated by the challenge of making a marriage between two very different buildings -- the neoclassical 1904 building and the neobrutalist 1974 building -- in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. "It's a very, very intriguing problem."
Other finalists under consideration for the design commission were Gwathmey Siegel & Associates of New York; Hartman Cox of Washington; and Hammond Beeby and Babka of Chicago.
Museum director Gary Vikan said that while all the candidates were first-rate, the museum's selection committee was most impressed by Kallmann's team and the presentation made by partner Michael McKinnell.
The museum was seeking designers who have experience working with contemporary buildings and who "could extract from our building the most exciting results," Vikan said.
Of the four finalists, the Kallmann team appeared to understand the 1974 building best and offer the best hope of coming up with innovative solutions to improve it, he said.
"They stole the show," agreed Jonathan Fishman, a local architect who advised the selection committee. "The key to making something out of the 1974 building is hiring someone who is very clever and approaches the job in a very careful way.
"Michael McKinnell is not a salesman. He's a real scholar. It's a very high-quality firm."
The newly hired architects will build on a master plan that has been completed for the museum over the past two years by a Philadelphia-based architectural firm, the Vitetta Group, and others.
Vitetta's final report contains many of the recommendations now under consideration for the 1974 building, including creation of the Family Art Center and orientation of the entrance back to Charles Street.
Vikan said not all of Vitetta's ideas will be implemented, but the firm has left a valuable document to guide future work.
At this stage, he said, the project is like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, just waiting to be put together.
"The final details aren't designed. But what we want is pretty clear."
Pub Date: 8/18/96