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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, United States

Museum of Arts and Design set to open
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), designed by Portland–based Allied Works Architecture, will open the doors of its new Columbus Circle digs on September 27. The 54,000 sq ft building triples the space of the Museum’s previous home while transforming the former “lollipop” building, a Venetian-style palazzo designed in mid 1960s by Edward Durell Stone, into a fitting home for the Country’s leading arts, craft and design institution. The project is a New York debut for architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, who bested Zaha Hadid, Toshiko Mori and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson in a competition to design the building.

Cloepfil’s design dramatically opens up the building to natural light and views while putting the Museum’s core mission of “craft”, front and center. While the essential form of the existing 12-storey building has been maintained, right down to the lollipop-style arcade on which it sits, the fortress-like building has been given a new transparency by opening up the façade with a series of horizontal and vertical slices of fritted and clear glass that let light in while providing visitors views of the City beyond. On the building’s interior these cuts further serve to unify the space while providing connections among the galleries.

To celebrate the Museum’s craft tradition, Cloepfil has reclad the structure with a stunning new skin comprised of 22,000 custom-made terra cotta plates finished in a light iridescent glaze that subtly shifts in tone depending on the time of day and perspective. (The glaze was developed in conjunction with Dutch ceramicist Christine Jetten and the Internationally renowned ceramic manufacturer Royal Tichelaar Makkum). At its base, the building is further eroded, replaced by glass that encircles the entire floor, inviting a dialogue between the Museum and surrounding neighborhood. Glass also stretches across the ninth floor of the building, giving visitors to the Museum’s restaurant panoramic views of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

The new museum, dubbed the Chazen building, will house permanent and temporary gallery space; a resource center and gallery for contemporary jewellery; an education center; open studios for artists in residence and a renovated auditorium and theatre. A new restaurant and an expanded Museum store complete the space.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
architecture NOW

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