Museum of Modern Art Gallery Expansion and Residential Tower

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New York, New York, USA
384,000 square feet / 36,000 square meters

For its 50th anniversary year, the Museum of Modern Art embarked on a major expansion consisting of the renovation of existing spaces, the addition of a new wing, and the construction of a 56-story residential tower using the air rights over the new galleries. The project more than doubled the Museum’s gallery space, increased by 30percent the size of the curatorial departments, improved back-of-the house functions, and added an auditorium, two restaurants and a bookstore. The Museum Tower was included as a revenue-producing element to support the Museum’s operating expenses.

As a result of the expansion, the Museum’s public spaces became larger and clearer in organization. A four-story, glass-enclosed garden hall overlooked the refurbished sculpture garden and enclosed a group of escalators. The hall opened new views of the garden, 54th Street and parts of uptown Manhattan.

The 53rd Street façade, designed by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone in the 1930s, was rebuilt. A symbol of the Museum, this façade continues to be an entrance and maintains its historic relationship with the rest of the block. The new wing and glass hall did not homogenize or transform existing disparate elements of the Museum. Rather, these new pieces rejoined these components while respecting their history.

The concrete-frame Museum Tower features a multi-colored glass curtain wall with patterned mullions, tinted vision glass and eleven shades of spandrel glass. Its elevations are suited to the urban context in color, pattern and scale.

In 1984, the Museum of Modern Art Expansion and Renovation received a Restoration and Expansion Award from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater New York, Inc. In 1985, the Project was recognized with an Award from the Urban Land Institute. In 1988, it received an Excellence in Design Award from the New York State Society of Architects.