City of Lancaster Parks Recreation & Arts Department
Lahmon Architects
Sq Ft

The Lancaster Museum of Art & History (MOAH) was conceived as the jewel of the newly revitalized downtown Lancaster. MOAH anchors the city’s main intersection and functions as a landmark for the newly burgeoning cultural community. Lancaster’s historic downtown was once the center of activity, but over recent decades atrophied into an abandoned street lined with vacant buildings. The Downtown Lancaster Specific Plan (adopted in 2008) set in place a revised approach to development and streetscape by focusing growth in the original urban core. MOAH is the heart of this recently revitalized area. Used by the city to expand its existing art program, the project is programmed to be a primary locus for community events. The new museum is a state of the art facility, adhering to the standards of the American Alliance of Museums. The design is a composition of opaque and transparent volumes. In the black volumes, a 2,500 square foot main gallery with a 25 ft. ceiling hosts rotating exhibitions while 3 smaller galleries display alternate shows and items from MOAH’s private collection. A transparent classroom used for community art classes and meetings activates the sidewalk and creates a visual connection to street life. On the roof a luminous event space acts as a beacon, marking the center of downtown. Natural daylight delineates the circulation spaces and filters into exhibition rooms. Among other sustainable features MOAH reuses 1/3 of an existing bank building for it’s back of house, offices and collections storage. With its thoughtful design and diverse programming, MOAH is an active contributor to the rebirth of Lancaster as a walkable, culturally aware desert city.