For nearly half a century, the Museum of Arts & Design has served as the country's premier institution dedicated to the collection and exhibition of contemporary objects created in media such as clay, glass, wood, metal, and fiber. The Museum celebrates materials and processes that are today embraced by practitioners in the fields of craft, art and design, as well as architecture, fashion, interior design, technology, performing arts, and art and design-driven industries. The institution's name reflects the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the Museum's permanent collection and exhibition programming as it explores objects that are created at the crossroads of craft, art, and design.
In June 2002, the Museum was selected by the New York Economic Development Corporation (EDC), on behalf of Mayor Bloomberg, to redevelop Two Columbus Circle with the goal of bringing a vibrant cultural resource to the area.
Plans for the redevelopment of the building, which has been vacant since 1998, grew out of a thorough analysis of the condition of the building's structure, electrical systems, and exterior cladding. The building's mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems need to be replaced. The Museum will also upgrade the building's infrastructure and circulation, climate control system, and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) measures in order to transform the structure into a state-of-the art facility that serves its visitors, students, and families. The pre-cast cladding and stone on the façade is in serious disrepair and will be replaced.
Developed by Brad Cloepfil and his Portland, Oregon-based firm Allied Works Architecture (www.alliedworks.com), the design transforms Two Columbus Circle into a dynamic cultural center that weaves together the museum experience and street life in one of Manhattan's most significant public spaces. The new building opens itself to the city and capitalizes on its dramatic location, a gateway linking Midtown Manhattan, the Upper West Side, and Central Park.
The primary design strategy of the new building is to open up the Museum to views and natural light as well as connections between gallery spaces. Linear cuts in the existing floor plates connect the galleries vertically. New vertical and horizontal openings in the existing exterior concrete wall provide views to the City and Central Park , as well as bring natural light into the gallery spaces.
Opening in 2008, the new Museum of Arts & Design will more than triple its space to 54,000 square feet from 17,000 square feet in its present location. The Museum's exhibition space will more than double. For the first time since its founding in 1956, the Museum of Arts & Design will be able to present and expand its permanent collection of art objects, including ceramics, fiber, glass, metal, paper, wood, mixed media, and design-one of the most distinguished collections of its kind in the world. The Museum will also increase its gallery space for the display of special exhibitions organized by the Museum and other national and international arts institutions.
The new facility will provide an entire floor dedicated to a new Center for the Study of Arts & Design, including an education facility that will feature classrooms and studios for programs tailored to school children, families, adults, and seniors. The public will have the opportunity to see artists at work and learn about different creative processes and techniques first-hand through Master Classes, Artists in Residence, and Open Studio programs. Programming will include a wide range of lectures, seminars, decorative arts and design history courses, and workshops. In addition, the Museum will use a 155-seat auditorium and theater to showcase cultural events in collaboration with New York City's premier performing and visual arts organizations, demonstrating today's interactions among all art forms.
The new Center for the Study of Arts & Design will also enable the Museum to establish a state-of-the-art resource for learning. It will be the first international center for the study of primary source material. The Center is conceived as a link between electronic media and information technologies and three-dimensional hand made objects.