The Museum of Modern Art Film Archive

Hamlin, Pennsylvania

The Museum of Modern Art's film collection, the largest private collection in the world, contains material that is highly sensitive to airborne pollutants and can potentially combust spontaneously. Therefore, a separate facility was required to house the collection independently from New York City home. Located on 37 acres of woodland and meadow in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, this 33,000 square foot, two-building compound is a simple and functional design with an industrial palette of materials.

The Museum of Modern Art Film Archive

Hamlin, Pennsylvania

David Brody Bond, LLP

The Museum of Modern Art’s film collection, the largest private collection in the world, contains material that is highly sensitive to airborne pollutants and can potentially combust spontaneously. Therefore, a separate facility was required to house the collection independently from New York City home.  Located on 37 acres of woodland and meadow in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, this 33,000 square foot, the two-building compound is a simple and functional design with an industrial palette of materials.  Building 1 contains the vaults for storing acetate or safety film, a preservation laboratory, offices and conference rooms. Because of the strict environmental requirements for archiving film, the design was conceived as a building within a building. Circulation is located on the perimeter to provide a thermal buffer between the low humidity, low temperature vaults and the varying conditions of the outside air. This 55 degree buffer reduces the work load of the heating and air conditioning units, providing substantial energy savings to the institution. Long-span trusses provide the necessary space for a thermal break above the vaults and allow for program flexibility below.  Building 2 houses the nitrate cellulose film collection in 42 poured-in-place concrete storage vaults. This film was produced prior to 1950 and, due to its chemical volatility, is governed by strict National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. Each vault is constructed of four-hour, fire-rated poured-in-place concrete and contains an explosion panel and deluge sprinkler protection.

Completed:1996
Photography byPaul Warchol