National Museum of American Jewish History

Philadelphia, PA

The National Museum of American Jewish History’s new $150 million, five-story building is the only museum in the nation dedicated solely to telling the story of American Jewish history. The building contains 25,000 square feet of gallery space on three-and-a-half floors, featuring more than 1,200 permanently displayed artifacts. The museum also contains 5,000 square feet of space for changing exhibitions, as well as an Education Center, a 200-seat theatre, a multipurpose event space with the capacity for 600 attendees, a café and a museum store. The museum features architectural metal cladding from CENTRIA.

The museum’s new location, Independence Mall in the heart of historic Philadelphia, PA, is a heavy-traffic area. Therefore, a major building goal of this project was to create a striking aesthetic that would maximize this location to raise the museum’s profile and quadruple the number of annual visitors from across the United States. The striking exterior of the building reflects a growing trend for cultural centers to incorporate warm, natural materials with high performance facades.

In addition to creating a prominent aesthetic, architects chose a building envelope with high thermal and moisture protection properties to help preserve artifacts. They were also looking for products that would help them create an energy-efficient public space, while maintaining the ability to blend with the building’s multiple substrates.

CENTRIA’s Formawall® Dimension Series® and integrated Formavue™ window system were selected for use on the National Museum of American Jewish History for their brilliant aesthetics, outstanding performance, sustainability credibility and unmatched value.

Formawall Dimension Series panels make up a wall system that provides both advanced thermal efficiency and moisture control in a single panelized component. Compared to traditional multi-component wall construction, which typically requires seven separate components, the Formawall Dimension Series system requires a single installer, which makes installation simple and increases efficiency in construction, adding to the overall value of the product. Formawall Dimension Series panels were chosen for the National Museum of American Jewish History because they easily integrated with the building’s multiple substrates. These panels also offer unlimited aesthetic options in terms of colors, finishes and coatings, allowing the building team to create a dramatic aesthetic without disturbing the historical integrity of the surrounding buildings.

CENTRIA’s Formavue Widow System, FV 400, was used because it is designed to integrate seamlessly with Formawall Dimension Series panels, eliminating window/metal panel coordination issues at intersections and contributing to the overall sleek look of the facility. A major design goal of this project was utilize glass to signify transparency between the museum and the Mall, a goal that was achieved by using Formavue windows to create an open and inviting space for visitors. While Formavue window systems were ideal for this project’s intended aesthetic appeal, they were also chosen for their outstanding weather-resistance and because they feature a standard thermal break.

  • Market Segment

    Museums & Libraries

  • Architect Name


  • Contractor

    INTECH Construction

  • LEED Certification