As the prized art institution approaches its centennial, its museum and education center called for an updated look to better the Guild Hall experience. With its $25 million capital improvements project and campaign underway, we sat down with Guild Hall’s Executive Director, Andrea Grover, to hear about the renovation plans.
Why is this renovation significant for Guild Hall? Guild Hall’s mission is to present artists and performers of all ages and abilities—from students to the world’s most admired creative luminaries—and we’ve done this without interruption for 91 years. These improvements will ensure that our capabilities evolve with the artists and audiences of our time.
How will this change the Guild Hall experience? We are taking a comprehensive design approach to welcoming people from the moment they arrive at Guild Hall. Our design team (Peter Pennoyer Architects, Hollander Design Landscape Architects, Bran Ferren/Applied Minds and Arrowstreet) was selected to integrate our historic building with new technology. The signage, parking, landscaping, wayfinding, entryways, seating areas, acoustics and lighting will make the experience of coming to Guild Hall more accessible, inclusive and welcoming.
The spacious gallery is designed to maximize art space.
Why was this renovation necessary? As we approach our centennial, Guild Hall recognizes that a museum, theater and education center constructed in 1931 needs to adapt to today’s standards of presentation. Our museum art receiving path and entryways will be enlarged to accommodate bigger works (the doors to the museum are 6 feet, 8 inches high right now); the classroom will be made flexible for both studio art-making and digital storytelling; and the theater will be able to realize contemporary audiovisual needs for live arts, to name just a few of the enhancements.
What design aspects are most important throughout the renovation? What would you consider the overall aesthetic of the new building? The brilliance of this project is that the exterior of the building will return to its original features while the interior will maintain the same volume but become more technically sophisticated. On the outside, the portico that was closed up some time ago with aluminum doors will be reopened, and the exterior features like the shaped windows and decorative shutters will be restored. In many ways, our approach is similar to historic exhibition spaces in cities like and has designed extensively on the East End; Bran Ferren/Applied Minds, a pioneer in art and science (and former Guild Hall technical director in the 1960s), is our theater expert, and the firm Arrowstreet is creating offices that reflect new, healthy directions in professional workspaces.
“The classroom will be made flexible for both studio art-making and digital storytelling, and the theater will be able to realize contemporary audiovisual needs for live arts, to name just a few of the enhancements.”–ANDREA GROVER
The new exteriors of Guild Hall as a result of the renovation
What do you see for the future of Guild Hall? I see Guild Hall becoming an even brighter beacon for creative talent, a destination for future generations and a ‘third space’ for community gathering. We were established nine decades ago as a visionary civic art space, and we are securing the vision of our founder, Mary Woodhouse, to ‘encourage a finer type of citizenship’ through the arts, now and for the future. 158 Main St., East Hampton, guildhall.org
Photography by: PHOTO © GUILD HALL AND APPLIED MINDS, LLC, 2022; EXTERIOR PHOTO © GUILD HALL, PETER PENNOYER ARCHITECTS AND HOLLANDER DESIGN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS, 2022; GALLERY PHOTO © GUILD HALL AND PETER PENNOYER ARCHITECTS, 2022