© Robert Creamer
© Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
© Auerbach Pollock Friedlander

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, The Ford Orientation Center

Mount Vernon, Virginia

Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander collaborated with designer and master planner, GWWO, Inc. on improvements to an expansion of the historic Mount Vernon visitor facilities. The firm provided theatre and audio-visual consulting for two high definition digital cinema presentation theatres and support spaces in the orientation center.

The Ford Orientation Center is a visitor’s introduction to the entire estate. The Center houses exhibits and two screening rooms that provide seating for a total of 450 patrons. The screening rooms are used in rotation to present a dramatic, 24-minute short film about George Washington’s political and military achievements.

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander worked closely with the architect on the orientation theatre seating layouts and sightline studies and provided complete design of the systems for HD digital cinema projection, motorized screen masking, show control and text captioning and assistive listening for the hearing impaired.

The theatres share one common projection room which allows a single staff member to oversee and control the video presentation in both spaces.

The design of the Center is respectful to the setting, taking into account the estate’s historic mansion and pastoral grounds, preserving views and a connection to the site.

Architect: GWWO, Inc.
Acoustics: Acoustical Design Collaborative, Ltd.
Size: 41,000 SF
Completion: 2006