Albacore Museum + Park | Portsmouth, NH

Museum + Experience Design

The USS Albacore, a national landmark, is a historic research submarine that represents an important milestone in US Naval submarine design innovation. In 1985, with great effort, The Portsmouth Submarine Memorial Association brought the USS Albacore, to dry land and established the park and museum. The Albacore is the most visited museum on the Seacoast and is well-poised for growth as a result of increased area tourism and nearby park improvements.

The association engaged our design team to come up with a strategy and design for expanding the experience of the park and museum for future generations to enjoy. The experience design strategy came together through several stakeholder work sessions and feedback from a broader questionnaire. The collaborative team determined that the evolved park and museum should create space to inspire, learn, gather, honor, and support. These components of the strategy were the foundation for the schematic design exercise and overall vision.

The design goal for evolving the entire site was to not only create a new museum but to expand the experience outside with exhibits, sculptural wayfinding, a walkway network, expanded memorial park, and a family picnic area. The new museum itself is set along the broadside of the submarine to best showcase the submarine without overshadowing its significance. A glazed facade provides expansive views as well as natural daylighting. The design program focused on a modular and multi-purpose building that increases capacity for exhibit and educational space, hosting events, and administrative functions. Innovative and sustainable maritime design features are included, such as a wave-like roof structure with solar panels and a modular building form that exposes building technology similar to that of a submarine.

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