Alum helps design addition for critically hailed Penn. museum

Zamir Garcia  

Zamir Garcia ‘93, who earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree at Texas A&M, is an associate at a Philadelphia firm lauded by a newspaper’s architecture critic for its design of an addition to Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pa., a castle-like building completed in 1916.

“We worked on the addition for quite some time and are extremely excited about the positive response,” said Garcia, of Voith & Mactavish Architects LLP.

The firm produced, wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Inga Saffron, a sophisticated, modern addition that nods affectionately to Mercer's building — made entirely of concrete, including the roof and window frames — while standing smartly on its own as architecture.

“Mercer, an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement, committed his life to documenting and preserving traditional craft skills,” said Saffron. “By embracing a material he loved, Voith & Mactavish carry on that worthy mission.”

The addition’s exterior is poured-in-place, reinforced concrete, said Garcia in a blog on his firm’s website. While concrete is typically seen as a heavy, massive material, he said, the design team gave it a lighter, contemporary feel by designing extensive daylighting and windows.

“Mercer’s building,” continued Garcia, “stands as a testament to the beauty of simplistic, utilitarian design, and the new addition incorporates contemporary, sustainable elements while keeping with the style of Mercer’s architectural taste.”

The one-story, 13,000 square-foot addition was commissioned to provide the museum with a special exhibition gallery, classroom, bookstore and additional storage space.

posted July 7, 2011