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Davis Museum and Cultural Center

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1989–1993, Rafael Moneo Studios and Payette Associates. Wellesley College.

The Wellesley commission was the first in the United States for this Spanish architect, who won the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1996. Accommodating a cinema and a café as well as a collection that had far outgrown the museum facilities in the Jewett Arts Center (WL11.6), the complex manifests in its layout, materials, and exterior articulation several continuities with the older building. Its austere surfaces and boldly scaled geometrical massing, however, are characteristic of Moneo's work elsewhere. The dominant motif of the museum interior is a three-story volume that provides superbly modulated natural light to the stacked galleries. Symmetrical switchback stairs rising along one side of the space aspire to a ritualistic solemnity.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Davis Museum and Cultural Center", [Wellesley, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 519-519.

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