Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Gensler have completed the New York icon, Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) $450m makeover announced back in 2014.
MoMA, which has a rich history of expansion – its 2004 transformation by Tokyo architect Yoshio Taniguchi expanded the museum by 23,411sqm – has now included an additional 9,500sqm of gallery space, which opened to the public on October 21 2019.
DS+R released an initial design in 2014 with a proposed Art Bay – a conceptually convertible triple-height space – and the Gray Box – a smaller gallery equipped with acoustic-absorption panelling solely dedicated to performances.
The Art Bay and Gray Box were disposed of, in a rethink of the expansion presented in 2016, which is the MoMA as of October last year.
“The goals for the project are threefold: increasing gallery space and allowing the museum to exhibit significantly more of its diverse collection in deeper and more interdisciplinary ways, to provide visitors with a more welcoming and comfortable experience, and to better connect the Museum to the urban fabric of midtown Manhattan,” says DS+R.
The now completed renovation of the east end includes reconfiguration of the existing space to create two spacious galleries on the third floor; the extension of the historic Bauhaus stair and the addition of a new first-floor lounge.
On the second floor, a new lounge and an espresso bar overlooks the Sculpture Garden, with its overall expansion yielding a net increase in MoMA’s gallery space of one third.
“The design optimises current spaces to be more flexible and technologically sophisticated and creates more areas for visitors to pause and reflect.”
“It enlarges and opens up the main lobby into a light-filled, double-height space and creates intuitive circulation routes through the Museum, including a connector that seamlessly links the new galleries to the renovated east side of the building.”
The west end expansion features a stack of vertically interlocking galleries of varying heights, including new street-level galleries comprised of Projects Rooms and a gallery for contemporary design, a new fully customised studio space for media, performance and film, and a sixth-floor lounge with an outdoor terrace.
The Flagship Museum Store is lowered by one level, making it also a new double-height space.
The new Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis Studio on the museum’s fourth floor will be a new gallery/studio, which MoMA states is “the world’s first dedicated space for performance, process, and time-based art to be centrally integrated within the galleries of a major museum.”
“Responding to criticism that the reimagined space dumbs down the experience for art lovers, Glenn D. Lowry, the David Rockefeller director, defended the goal of creating a more inclusive experience,” according to Forbes.
“The intent, he said, is ‘to try and speak as if we were speaking to a bunch of friends who were interested but didn’t know a lot about art.’ The art world is ‘often a closed circuit speaking only to people who speak that language.”