Nemours Visitor Center

Wilmington, Delaware

A Restoration and Expansion of a Historic Estate

As part of a major restoration of Delaware’s most famous residence, the Nemours Foundation opened a new visitor center on the grounds of the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. Built in 1910, the mansion was designed in a French Neoclassical style by renowned architects Carerre and Hastings and is surrounded by lush gardens, ponds, statues, and a reflecting pool. The 5,400-square-foot visitor center, which includes reception and ticketing space, a 281-seat theater, and exhibit areas, provides an introduction to the estate and leads to the home’s formal entrance.

The center is clad in fieldstone and wood with large expanses of glass to optimize views of the gardens. Mueller Associates devised energy-efficient measures to maintain comfortable temperature control despite the extensive use of glass. The design features finned-tube radiant heat and energy-efficient heat pumps with multiple stages of controls to address varying load levels. Energy-saving building envelope features including exterior solar shades, high-performance glazing, and a structural insulated panel roof system.

Architect

Ayers Saint Gross

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  • The center features high-end finishes, and it was a challenge to incorporate the systems and conceal all of the components. We needed to heat, cool, light, and sprinkler the space in an unobtrusive way, but in a way that was effective and efficient. This is a building that required close integration of the architecture and the engineering design, and an appreciation for the architects’ vision.

    Todd Garing, PE, LEED AP BD+C
    Vice President, Mueller Associates
  • The center features high-end finishes, and it was a challenge to incorporate the systems and conceal all of the components. We needed to heat, cool, light, and sprinkler the space in an unobtrusive way, but in a way that was effective and efficient. This is a building that required close integration of the architecture and the engineering design, and an appreciation for the architects’ vision.

    Todd Garing, PE, LEED AP BD+C
    Vice President, Mueller Associates