Maryhill Museum of Art is situated in a park-like setting of 26 acres—just a small sliver of the museum’s expansive 5,300-acre grounds—overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.
The historic, three-story Beaux Arts mansion was originally intended as a residence for museum founder Sam Hill. It was designed in 1914 by the nationally recognized architectural firm Hornblower & Marshall of Washington, D.C. Hornblower & Marshall designed many important buildings in the nation’s capital, including the National Museum of Natural History and Duncan Phillip’s House, now the Phillips Collection. The Maryhill Museum of Art building is constructed of steel I-beams with interior steel studs. The walls, floors, and ceilings are poured concrete reinforced with steel. No wood was used in the structural parts of the building. The recessed windows are a distinctive trademark of the firm.
Maryhill Museum of Art was dedicated in 1926 by Queen Marie of Romania and opened to the public in 1940; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The adjoining Mary & Bruce Stevenson Wing, designed by GBD Architects of Portland, opened in May 2012. It houses the museum’s M.J. Murdock Education Center, collections storage, and Loie’s: The Museum Café. Exterior spaces include the Cannon Power Plaza and the Broughton and Mary Bishop Family Terrace, both providing expansive views of the Columbia River Gorge below and Mount Hood in the distance.
The contemporary wing is smart, sustainable, and honors the design of the original building, considered by many to be an icon of Washington State. The Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing was honored as Engineering News Record (ENR) Northwest’s 2012 Best Project. The expansion was also named by ENR as the Best Cultural / Worship Project in the Northwest in 2012.
The museum’s two buildings have a combined 35,000 square feet of space.
The Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing received a LEED Gold rating from USGBC in fall 2014. Constructed with minimal impact on the landscape and natural environment, it is largely underground to maximize energy efficiency. The concrete floors feature radiant heat and the Cannon Power Plaza acts as a solar reflector, keeping the spaces beneath it cool. Native plantings reduce the heat island effect and provide a storm water catchment system to filter rainwater and eliminate downhill erosion. An irrigation halo around the campus provides new protection against the frequent brush fires of the region. Ultra-low flow water fixtures and energy-efficient lighting is used throughout. Recycled materials, such as site-harvested Columbia River basalt, and certified wood are also featured.