What is a healthy building? 

A healthy building is designed in ways that promote physical and mental wellbeing; have systems and operations that optimize indoor air quality; and supports its local communities and audiences while reducing is environmental impact. 

We invite you to explore more about the ways the ICA is striving to be a healthy museum through this report and case study by our partners at MASS Design: 

[ to link to report ] 

Healthy Communities 

The ICA’s waterfront campus was designed to encourage outdoor convening and host cultural programming on the harbor. This vision expanded with the opening of the ICA Watershed in 2018, bringing visitors across the harbor by boat and activating Boston’s waterfront.  

The museum’s education programs — for families, teens, and adults — are designed to foster connection and learning and bring communities together to share the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, provocation, and imagination that contemporary art offers. 

Learn more about the ICA’s mission

Air Quality 

The ICA has made the following changes to its ventilation to support a healthy building and protect visitors and staff: 

Icon indicating air filtering

Icon indicating air intake

Icon of ICA building with arrows indicating air flow

  • Installation of MERV14 filters increase air filtration
  • Increased the rate of fresh air intake
  • Extended run of ventilation systems before and after occupancy 

While these changes support a healthier environment for those visiting the ICA, some can come at the expense of energy efficiency. 

The ICA is currently engaged in a retro-commissioning project to better understand our current air quality systems and ways in which we can increase their efficiency. Currently, the ICA has expanded our use of our building management system to streamline scheduling and increase the efficiency of HVAC systems.  

Efficient Upgrades 

The ICA’s building was erected in 2006 and since then, there has been an ongoing process to ensure lighting in our spaces meet current recommendations for energy consumption. Recent changes include lighting efficiency upgrades in our galleries and stairwells and in the ICA Store and Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater.  

Additionally, the ICA is expanding our use of measurement, management, and benchmarking of energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to spot areas where we can improve or limit consumption.