New York | MoMA unveils its campus general expansion plan by DS+R

Place: New York City, Country: United States
MoMA - Museum of Modern Art
MoMA renovation and expansion
Design architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) in collaboration with Gensler
Text: Inexhibit
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View of The Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin Lounge. Photo by Iwan Baan.

New York | MoMA completes its campus’ east end renovation, and unveils general expansion plan by Diller Scofidio +Renfro

The first stage of the ambitious project of renovation and enlargement of the MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art in New York has been completed.
In June 1st, 2017, Moma’s Director Glenn D. Lowry, along with announcing the completion of the renovation of the east wing of the museum complex, unveiled the global expansion plan of the MoMA campus, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects in collaboration with architectural firm Gensler, which will be implemented in the next years.

The project is aimed to achieve three objectives; to increase the gallery space in order to present the museum’s collection in a more complete and interdisciplinary way; to provide the public with a more welcoming and comfortable visiting experience; to improve the connection between the museum and the midtown Manhattan urban landscape.

First things first. Started in February 2016, the phase recently completed comprised the improvement of exhibition galleries and service spaces located on three levels of the eastern part of the museum.
About 15,000 square feet of space have been reconfigured, creating two main galleries of the third level, enlarging the historical Bauhaus staircase in order to ameliorate access to the second floor galleries; and, on the first floor, the addition of a new lounge space overlooking the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.



View of The Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin Lounge. Photo by Iwan Baan.


View of the restored Bauhaus staircase, with Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Stairway (1932). Photo by Iwan Baan.


View of the second floor looking east with new Museum Store, espresso bar and The Daniel and Jane Och Lounge. Photo by Iwan Baan 


View of The Louise Reinhardt Smith Gallery, including Lawrence Weiner’s SLOW CORROSION LEADING TO A LOSS OF INHERENT DIGNITY OF THE OBJECT AT HAND (1985). Photo by Iwan Baan 

The planned expansion on the west side of the compus, which is ready to start and is scheduled for completion in 2019, will increase the museum exhibition space by 30%, up to 175,000 square feet.
MoMA’s objective is also to create new areas for visitors – for example by enlarging the main lobby – and, by optimizing the internal circulation, to devote the new west wing almost entirely to art exhibition.


North/south section-perspective through the new gallery spaces at The Museum of Modern Art, looking east along 53 Street. © 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro 

Needs to be said that the general renovation of MoMA meant the end of the beautiful bronze-clad building of the Folk Art Museum – completed in 2001 after a design by architects Tod Williams e Billie Tsien – whose demolition – decided by MoMA, owner of the building since 2011, to give room for the new expansion – has been much criticized.

Let’s have a further look to how the new MoMA layout will be once all the planned works are complete: the expansion to the west end of the site will create new exhibition spaces, such as a dedicated Project Room, a gallery dedicated to contemporary design, a new studio for media, performances and films, and a lounge located on the sixth floor provided with a terrace overlooking 53rd street. The “MoMA Design e Book” store will be moved one floor down so that it will be visible from the street though a long glass wall which will also make the building more open to and interconnected with the midtown Manhattans’ urban space around.
The entire first floor will still be open to the public for free, including the new galleries, while the galleries on the second, fourth and fifth floors will be expanded to west into the new 53W53 building, designed by Jean Nouvel and currently under construction, thus adding 11,500 square feet of floor area to each level.


Stacked plans highlighting the new and renovated spaces at The Museum of Modern Art. © 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro.


The 53W53 building, currently under construction, designed by Jean Nouvel.


The American Folk Art Museum designed byTod Williams e Billie Tsien,(now demolished) image via ArchDaily.

Overall, the plan by Diller Scofidio + Renfro integrates and re-connects the various parts and different facets which form the architectural history of MoMA.
The new glass facade on 53rd street will join the existing buildings designed by Goodwin & Stone, Johnson, and Taniguchi and create a better relationship between interior and exterior space. Throughout the renovation project construction, MoMA will remain open; yet, the main entrance of the museum on 53rd street has been closed since June 4, 2017.


Elevation of The Museum of Modern Art on 53 Street with cutaway view below street level. © 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro 

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