Rem Koolhaas’ OMA reveals New Museum expansion on the Bowery

Posted On Thu, June 27, 2019 By

Posted On Thu, June 27, 2019 By In Design, Lower East Side, Museums, Starchitecture

Renderings via OMA/Bloomimages.de

The New Museum has revealed the first look at plans for its second building, designed by OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas in collaboration with Cooper Robertson. The design replaces an existing property at 231 Bowery that the museum acquired in 2008 with a seven-story, 60,000 square-foot building that will double the museum’s exhibition space, provide a permanent home for its cultural incubator NEW INC, as well as increased public amenities and improved circulation. As 6sqft reported when the project was first announced in 2017, this will be OMA’s first public building in New York City.


Renderings via OMA/Bloomimages.de

The new design will add more than 10,000 square-feet of gallery spaces across three levels that will connect with the existing galleries in the SANAA building. In addition to creating horizontal connections between the buildings, this will allow curators to use the spaces in a variety of ways: singularly for large exhibitions or separately for more diversity. The design will also add much-needed additional elevators, and connect the lobbies of the two buildings into one large space which will include an expanded bookstore and an 80-seat restaurant.


Renderings via OMA/Bloomimages.de

Considered from the exterior, the new building seeks to provide a more transparent counterpoint to SANAA’s “hermetic” design. The architects chose a laminated glass with metal mesh for the façade to complement the SANAA façade, yet allow for a higher degree of transparency. The new Atrium Stair, inspired by the external fire escapes of the neighborhood, is visible from the outside. “The OMA building will communicate the activities of the Museum outwards while creating a more inviting presence drawing the public inwards,” a press statement notes.

“We wanted it to be complementary but not competitive,” said Koolhaas in an interview with the New York Times, “to be independently appealing but also make sure the coexistence of these two buildings gives something fresh.”

The OMA addition is set back from the street and gestures away from the SANAA building to create a public plaza between the two buildings at the intersection with Prince Street, which can be used for events or to showcase art outdoors.

The New Museum has raised $79 million toward its $89 million goal for the expansion, which includes funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Mayor’s Office, New York City Council, and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, in addition to a $20 million donation from longtime trustee Toby Devan Lewis. The building will be named in her honor.

Groundbreaking is scheduled to start in 2020 and the Museum will remain open during most of the construction period, with a projected opening in 2022.

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