Waterbury, Connecticut


ABA spearheaded the Mattatuck Museum’s first renovation in more than 30 years. Founded in 1877, the Mattatuck is a keeper of artifacts and a place for community engagement around regional history and Connecticut-based art.

While centrally located, the museum’s c. 1912 building was disconnected from the neighborhood and had limited space for education, exhibition, and events. The building wings were connected only by a stairwell, and a small elevator limited public access and the museum’s ability to move large artworks. Classrooms were constrained by their basement location and lacked natural light. A previous addition occupied the corner lot, presenting an impenetrable mass at street level and closing the museum off from its surroundings. The main entrance was small and not fully accessible, and first-floor circulation was confusing and lacked opportunities for exhibition.

ABA prepared a master plan for the museum, providing a comprehensive approach to space use and a compelling vision for its building program and Waterbury presence. ABA proposed both renovation and a new addition to overcome physical limitations and promote the museum’s urban identity.

Following the master plan, ABA led design for the extensive renovations and new addition. The existing addition was removed to make way for a street-level plaza and sculpture garden that connects to an accessible, expansive lobby with room for ticketing, retail, events, and exhibition. New classrooms on the ground and mezzanine levels support education programs. The first-floor classroom, positioned at the corner with windows that directly address the street, engages more transparently with passersby. As visitors travel through the museum to expanded, flexible gallery spaces, they maintain a visual connection with Waterbury Green through broad banks of windows.

A new zinc-clad 6,600-square-foot addition provides multipurpose space and connectivity between the wings and to a large elevator. A critical component of the addition is a 3,300-square-foot roof terrace that overlooks the green. Used by visitors as well as for private outdoor events, the terrace is at once secure and connected to public life. An important event space, it acts as a stage, putting events on display and reconnecting visitors with the city.

Location: Waterbury, Connecticut
Project Size: 14,000 sf renovation; 6,800 sf new construction

Project Team: Steven Gerrard AIA, Ashley Merchant AIA, Carl Damas (ABA); GNCB Consulting Engineers (Structural); Altieri (MEP); Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting (Lighting); Solutions Engineering (Code); SLR (formerly Milone & MacBroom) (Landscape / Civil); Wil-Spec, LLC (Specifications); Downes Construction (Construction Manager)