Freer Gallery of Art

Smithsonian Institution: Washington, DC

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery house collections of Asian Art for the Smithsonian Institution. Freer opened to the public in 1923 and is connected to the Sackler by an underground passageway. In addition to its collections of Asian art, the Freer contains an “important collection of 19th century American art punctuated by James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room, perhaps one of the earliest (and certainly one of the most controversial) art installations on record.”  Within in the building, mechanical systems (steam coils, humidifiers and associated piping) were beyond their useful life and leaking, presenting a high level of risk of water damage to sensitive collections in the building. This complex and phased modernization project included removal of duct-mounted steam coils, humidifiers and steam and condensate piping, and subsequent replacement with hot water coils, a new heating water system and central humidification, while keeping the building operational. Included replacement of five custom AHUs, upgrades to one AHU, and new controls; sequenced reheat coil replacement and new heating water system; controlled building shutdown for AHU replacement; chilled water cooling/hot water preheat coils; special carbon filtration to maintain a high air quality level for sensitive artifacts; replacement of all steam supplemental heating units with similar hot water type units; and removal of all steam and steam condensate piping except for new feeds to the steam to water heat exchanger.

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