The Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia is known for its outstanding collection of rare books and manuscripts, as well as its fine examples of 18th and 19th century decorative arts. The museum was originally housed in an elegant 1864 townhouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the former home of the Rosenbach brothers who were avid book collectors and dealers. The Museum purchased the neighboring townhouse to allow the institution to expand its educational initiatives and public programs. The project involved the complete reconstruction of the newly acquired building, including the insertion of a steel structure within the existing masonry walls, and the addition of a fourth floor. This building provides support spaces for the original house museum, including meeting spaces, a temporary exhibition gallery, a reading room, high-density collection storage facilities, staff offices, and a gift shop. An accessible entrance and a new elevator permit access to all levels of both buildings. The restoration of the house museum included reinforcement of the building’s structure, upgrading the HVAC system, and installation of new security, fire protection, lighting and electrical systems. The garden was enlarged and redesigned to include historically significant plantings, and reappointed as a beautiful extension of the house for special events and receptions.
Jane Lawson-Bell served as Principal in Charge for the renovation of the Rosenbach Museum and Library while a Principal at Atkin Olshin Lawson-Bell Architects, Philadelphia, PA.