The Museum of Modern Art transformed

Arguably the world's most famous museum, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has been comprehensively renovated and expanded. And the result? A third more gallery space, a more welcoming air and improved connection to the urban fabric of Manhattan

Photography by: Iwan Baan

Designed by  by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler

From the architects:

The Museum of Modern Art has completed a renovation and expansion designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, that has increased gallery space by 30%, provides visitors with a more welcoming and comfortable experience, and better connects the Museum to the urban fabric of midtown Manhattan. 

Launched in 2014, the first phase of renovations on the east end was completed in 2017, and the second phase of expansion on the west end is now complete and opened to the public on October 21, 2019.


Interior view of The Museum of Modern Art, architecture, building, floor, flooring, interior design, retail, room, shopping mall, gray
Interior view of The Museum of Modern Art, Flagship Museum Store. Photography by Iwan Baan

The overall expansion yields a net increase in MoMA’s gallery space of one third, to approximately 15,000m², allowing the Museum to exhibit significantly more art in new and interdisciplinary ways. 

The design optimised current spaces to be more flexible and technologically sophisticated, expanded and opened up the main lobby into a light-filled, double-height space that connects seamlessly between West 53rd and 54th Streets, and created a multitude of circulation routes with more areas for visitors to pause and reflect. 

The state-of-the-art Studio in the heart of the Museum and an innovative second-floor Creativity Lab invite visitors to connect with art that explores new ideas about the present, past, and future. 

Interior View of The Museum of Modern Art, architecture, building, ceiling, floor, flooring, glass, interior design, lobby, room, technology, wall, orange, gray
Interior View of The Museum of Modern Art, The Eli and Edythe Broad Ticketing Platform. Photography by Iwan Baan

The flagship Museum store has been lowered one level and made visible to the street through a dramatic glass wall and a new sixth-floor café includes an outdoor terrace facing 53rd Street. 

The clear glass façade, new street-level galleries, and a ground floor free and open to all offer increased transparency and bring art closer to people on the streets of midtown Manhattan.

The architectural expression is a restrained conversation between the existing palette and new materials within The Museum of Modern Art. 

The second floor of MoMA’s expansion includes a architecture, building, ceiling, design, floor, flooring, interior design, lobby, room, tourist attraction, gray, black
The second floor of MoMA’s expansion includes a new bookstore, espresso bar, and lounge. Photography by Iwan Baan

The design taps into the historic DNA of the building, relating disparate elements through a series of strategic interventions that reflect aspects of twentieth-century modernism: purity of material expression, abstraction of space, and thinness. 

Synthesis is achieved with a minimalist use of materials which correlates with the existing building fabric.

This project has called on us to work across MoMA's rich architectural history, incorporating the museum's existing building blocks into a comprehensible whole through careful and deliberate intervention into previous logics, as well as the construction of the new logic that arise from MoMA's current aspirations. 

This work has required the curiosity of an archaeologist and the skill of a surgeon. Improvements will make the visitor experience more intuitive and will relieve congestion, while a new circulation network will knit together the expansion spaces with the lobbies, the theatres, and the Sculptured Garden to create a contiguous, free public realm that bridges street to street and art to city. 

The design integrates the various facets of the museum's architectural history, creating a distinct clear-glass facade on the 53rd Street that complements the existing Goodwin and Stone, Johnson, and Taniguchi buildings and invites a more open dialogue between interior and exterior spaces.

Elizabeth Diller, co-founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Oct 17, 2019

Credit list

Architect
Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler
Construction manager
Turner Construction Company
Lighting designer— public spaces
Tillotson Design Associates
MEP/FP/IT
Jaros Baum & Bolles (JB&B)
Façade
Heintges Consulting Architects & Engineers P.C.
Security
DVS Security
Vertical Transportation
Van Deusen Associates (VDA)
Theatre Audiovisual
Boyce Nemec Designs
Food service
Cini-Little International, Inc
Steel Fabricator—blade stair
Dante Tisi, DAMTSA
Steel Fabricator—canopy
Frener+Reifer, Germany
Director, Real Estate Expansion, MoMA
Jean Savitsky
Retail consultant
Lumsden Design
Lighting designer— gallery spaces
Renfro Design Group
Structural
Severud Associates
Sustainability
Atelier Ten
Acoustics/Audio-Visual
Cerami Associates
Theatre Planning & Design
Fisher Dachs Associates (FDA)
Waterproofing
Vidaris
Signage/Wayfinding
Gensler/Wkshps
Steel Fabricator—retail stair, counters
M Cohen
Millwork
MillerBlaker
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