AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Provincetown Art Association and Museum

This photo shows the front gallery from the museum exterior.
Photo credit: ©Anton Grassl/Esto


  • Location: Provincetown, MA
  • Building type(s): Interpretive Center
  • 72% new construction, 28% renovation
  • 19,500 ft2 (1,810 m2)
  • Project scope: 2-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed February 2006
    The first phase, focused on renovation, took place in the winter and spring of 2004. The museum was opened during the summer of 2004 in its restored state, and the expansion phase began in January 2004. The project was completed in February 2006.
  • Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Silver (36 points)

The renovation and expansion of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), originally acquired in 1918, sought to shape an architectural identity for the institution and to improve the museum's ability to store and display art.

The first phase involved the renovation of three galleries, the expansion of office spaces, and the creation of a library, while the expansion created new galleries, new storage areas, and an expanded museum school. All of the building's mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were replaced, and the project was brought in line with current codes.

This project was chosen as an Honorable Mention in the AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project Awards for 2007. It was submitted by Machado and Silvetti Associates, in Boston, Massachusetts. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

PAAM's mission is to help sustain and nurture an artistic culture in the beautiful yet fragile ecology of Cape Cod through exhibitions, classes, public lectures, and social events. When PAAM decided to renovate and expand its existing building, the organization looked to make it green as well. This not only dovetailed with PAAM's social mission but also supported its economic future.

Located in downtown Provincetown, PAAM includes only eight parking spaces, all reserved for employees. A bike rack and shower encourage staff to bike to work. The parking lot is paved with porous materials, and rooftop rainwater is directed to a recharge basin, eliminating stormwater runoff from the site. The landscaping, which showcases a rare American elm and other native species, requires no artificial irrigation. Low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and automatic faucets limit potable water use indoors.

The building uses energy efficiently thanks to strategies including high levels of insulation, efficient furnaces, energy-recovery ventilation, extensive daylighting, and a small photovoltaic array.

Interior materials were chosen for their beauty, durability, and low levels of harmful chemicals. Much of the original building was retained, reducing waste as well as the need for new materials. More than 80% of construction waste, by weight, was recycled.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Corporation, nonprofit
  • Typically occupied by 7 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 150 visitors per week, 2 hours per visitor per week


Transportation benefits, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Insulation levels, Glazing, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Adaptable design, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Low-emitting materials

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Last updated: 4/23/2007

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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