Cold Spring Whaling Museum

Our conceptual design for the Whaling Museum expansion focuses on the enhancement and modernization of the Museum’s existing buildings. The design emerges from a close study of the Museum’s needs and the remarkable historic structures on the site. The design increases the Museum’s exhibition and programming space.

Cold Spring Whaling Museum Image

The starting point for the design is the Hall for the Whale Skeleton. We set the basic parameters for the voluminous Exhibition Hall by distilling the Whale Skeleton’s proportion. Two new galleries were created to intersect at the whale skeleton. This creates an dramatic focal point at the Skeleton. The two flanking galleries bracket the Skeleton to form a straightforward building extrusion.  The design also includes energizing outdoor spaces for both for exhibition and gathering.

Cold Spring Whaling Museum Image
Cold Spring Whaling Museum Image

By using post and beam construction, the design captures the local qualities of construction during the Whaling period. The ordered sequence of post, beam and truss defines the unifying backbone of structure. Its materialization is a direct expression of readily accessible building materials. Cost and build ability are also main drivers. The design avoids duplicating expenses. For example, the bathroom locations are maintained. The simple proportions and standard construction materials and methods are achievable.

Cold Spring Whaling Museum Image

The Exhibition Hall and new galleries are nestled within the configuration of the existing buildings. We sought to embrace the configuration of these remarkable historic structures. The simple proportions of the new structures reference the vernacular architecture of the whaling villages of Long Island. In this wild landscape, the whalers built heavy timber frame buildings reminiscent of their country of origin. By using post and beam construction, the design seeks to capture the local qualities of construction behavior of harpooning.

Cold Spring Whaling Museum Image



Structural Engineering
Enclosure Engineering


Andrés Ulises Cortés, Architect
Sarrah Khan, PE
Wanlapa Frey
Tyler Javitz

Visit the Cold Spring Whaling Museum website