MoMA Renovates

John Hill
1. June 2017
A model on display at MoMA that shows the renovated ground-floor spaces and temporary entrance. (All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects, unless noted otherwise)

As described by MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry this morning, the project's goals are threefold: to increase and enhance the gallery spaces; to make the museum a more welcoming experience; and to better connect the museum to it's Midtown context. The project is basically split into two halves, east and west. The east section consists of the renovation of portions of its existing buildings from 1939 through to the 1980s, while the west section includes the renovation of Yoshio Taniguchi's 2004 building and the creation of new spaces on a lot formerly home to to the Folk Art Museum and inside Jean Nouvel's 53W53 tower. The latter will involve, among other things, closing the existing lobby and using a temporary one in the east section.

Following remarks from Lowry and architect Elizabeth Diller (who described the renovations as "DS+R's DNA riffing off of MoMA's DNA"), World-Architects ventured about the museum to see the completed work in the east section. These spaces are described below through photographs and captions. We'll have more on the new gallery spaces around June 12th, when the museum opens Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive; the exhibition is located in a renovated gallery on the third floor and "unpacks" a tiny fraction of the thousands of drawings and other artifacts from the Frank Lloyd Wright archive that MoMA and Columbia University jointly acquired in 2012.

Stacked plans highlighting the new and renovated spaces at The Museum of Modern Art. (Image © 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro)
The existing staircase (at right) is a notable element in MoMA's original 1939 building by Goodwin and Stone. DS+R extended the "Bauhaus staircase" (left) in steel, glass and terrazzo to the ground floor, near the museum's temporary entrance.
The Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin Lounge sits off of the temporary entrance. It is highlighted by an end wall of Grand Antique marble from France's Ariège region.
The architects removed a solid wall across from the lounge and inserted glazing to open up views from the space toward the museum's iconic Sculpture Garden by Philip Johnson.
Renovations on the second floor include the Daniel and Jane Och Lounge (left) and a new museum store (right).
The design of the museum store, with its custom millwork and displays, was carried out with retail consultant Lumsden Design.
The espresso bar at the end of the Och Lounge (left) features the same marble as the lounge downstairs, while the stainless steel counters look out onto the Sculpture Garden.
The renovated Cafe 2, which sits next to the museum store and Och Lounge, features new lighting, glazing, and furniture, including custom banquettes and tables by DS+R.
Both the second- (left) and third-floor (right) spaces overlook the Sculpture Garden through existing glass walls.
The Louise Reinhardt Smith Gallery sits along a glass wall overlooking the Sculpture Garden on the third floor. The space includes custom benches designed by DS+R and button stools designed by Sweden's Mitab.
The model of the renovation and expansion shows the new lobby from 53rd Street with its glass canopy, ticketing and coat racks.
Off of the reconfigured lobby will be a double-height bookstore and new vertical core (right). New galleries (left) will occupy the lot of the former Folk Art Museum, which was demolished in 2014.
The westernmost piece of the expansion will be the new galleries in the base of Jean Nouvel 53W53, behind the tower's diagonal bracing visible at the ends.
Elevation of The Museum of Modern Art on 53 Street with cutaway view below street level. (Image © 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

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