Hunter Museum of American Art

Public Work | Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hunter Museum of American Art


EMJ’s involvement with the Hunter Museum of American Art began in 2005. EMJ performed a renovation and expansion that included a 30,000 square-foot expansion, a 9,200 square-foot state-of-the-art storage facility addition, 38,000-square-feet of renovated space within the existing facility, and a sculpture garden seamlessly tied into the city riverfront system. Additional amenities included the main lobby, a café that seats 80 people, numerous terraces, a sculpture garden, and a retail shop. The scope of the work consisted of reworking the display and circulation spaces throughout the museum, inserting new administrative and support spaces underneath the existing facility, and the addition of a temporary exhibit gallery, auditorium, and full-service kitchen. The EMJ team constructed the unique geometries of the West Expansion using computer modeling technologies and steel-framed columns and beams clad in angel hair finished stainless steel panels, patina-treated zinc panels, and glass.

In 2021, our team partnered with HK Architects to complete the River Terrace renovation—an event space that brings the community together and generates income for the museum.
This historical renovation was done in two phases. Phase I involved removing an old patio paver roof system and replacing it with a new EPDM roof to include a new 8,000-square-foot elevated concrete roof paver system; removing an old art sculpture mounted on the roof and replacing with a new walkable skylight; repairing old ceilings and walls from years of water intrusion and re-painting the entire art gallery; and relocating an 80-year-old fence sculpture to a new concrete beam located in front of the museum.

In Phase 2, existing restrooms located on the roof terrace were demolished and new state-of-the-art restrooms were constructed, complete with new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Decorative steel ramps and exterior sidewalks were added to provide the museum with code compliant egress pathways for events held on the newly renovated roof terrace, along with new site scapes and landscaping all around the museum. Old rotten wood at the museum façade was also repaired and the entire museum was repainted.