Tuesday, 26 August 2008

New York New Museum

This museum in lower Manhattan was designed by Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa, and their Tokyo-based firm, SANAA for the New York New Museum.

The institution had been running for 30 years before the site was obtained. The problem posed to the architects was - how does a 30-year-old operation stay fresh, off-balance, and edgy when it finally decides to put down roots? The architects supplied a building that seems perfectly aligned with the New Museum's persona.

The buildings eight floors are stacked like boxes, each pushed off-kilter so a sense of tension is created. The top floor slides north to create a side terrace with an all-glass railing that from street level makes it look as though people are walking around on an open ledge! The street wall on the ground floor is made of glass and shows the street pavement extending inside the building. There are now apparently several warning signs adorning this transparent wall, due to many people walking right into it...

With an open plan, raw style to the layout, the building is in keeping with the style of the artwork it houses. The galleries have an unfinished feel to them, with simple gypsum-board walls and concrete floors. The ceilings are the undersides of the floor decks above, with exposed steel structure, pipes, conduits, and lighting. The loading dock is even fully exposed.

Wrapped in anodized expanded aluminum mesh, the structure blends and fades into the skyline between the adjacent smaller and darker housing.

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