The Museum of Arts and Design // New York // Allied Works Architecture

The new Museum of Arts and Design, by Allied Works Architecture, at 2 Columbus Circle opened to the public in September 2008. Located at the southwest corner of Central Park, where four subway lines and seven bus lines intersect, the Museum’s new home is well-positioned to serve over 500,000 visitors annually.

//The Competition

The Museum of Arts and Design sought an architect whose design approach directly related to the institution’s mission as a contemporary museum dedicated to the transformation of materials and the process of making objects. After an extensive international search, eleven architectural firms were invited by the Museum’s Architect Selection Committee to develop design proposals for the project. The four finalists considered for the project are known for their innovative work with a wide range of materials and fabrication methods, and all brought their own understanding of craft to the project. Allied Works Architecture, led by Brad Cloepfil, was ultimately chosen for the project after museum leadership and the selection committee reviewed the work of each candidate relevant to the redevelopment of 2 Columbus Circle.

The Museum of Arts and Design is the country’s leading cultural institution dedicated to exploring the dynamic synergy among art, craft and design today. With a distinguished permanent collection of over 2,000 objects, the Museum challenges the boundaries that have traditionally separated fine art, craft, decorative arts and design. The move from its previous facility at 53 Street to its new home at Columbus Circle allows the Museum to advance its institutional vision and expand its reach to engage visitors, students, families and artists from New York City and abroad with an increased diversity of programming.

//Project Description

Created by Allied Works Architecture, the design transforms the 54,000-square-foot building at Columbus Circle into an accessible and welcoming cultural center in one of Manhattan’s most significant public spaces. The new building allows MAD to dramatically increase its range of offerings to include expanded exhibition programming, open artist studios and publicly accessible study collections.


2 Columbus Circle, New York City

//Opening Date

September 27, 2008


Allied Works Architecture, Portland, OR, and New York, NY
Brad Cloepfil, Principal
Kyle Lommen, Project Architect

//Space Breakdown

The new building increases MAD’s total space by threefold and doubles the gallery space previously available to the Museum at its former location.
• Total area: 54,000 square feet
• Total gallery space: 14,000 square feet
• Education facilities: 4,400 square feet

//Special Features

• Dedicated permanent collection galleries
• Expanded special exhibition gallery space
• Public database of the entire collection in galleries
• Resource center and gallery for contemporary jewelry, with publicly accessible study collections
• Education center, featuring classrooms for master classes and workshops for students and families
• Three open studios for ongoing artist-in-residence programs
• Renovated 150-seat auditorium and theater
• Restaurant and lounge overlooking the City and Central Park
• Expanded Museum store

//Building Design

Allied Works’ design for the Museum’s new home at Columbus Circle dramatically opens up the previously nearly windowless building to enliven its gallery space with natural light and views of the City. A series of three separate cuts, each one a continuous line fitted with transparent and fritted glass, weaves across the building’s facade to create a light-filled space. These bands of glass continue inside the building across the floors, ceilings and walls of each level, to provide a unified sense of space and a visual connection among the galleries.

The building’s façade is clad with 22,000 custom-made ceramic tiles finished in a pale iridescent glaze that changes with the time of day and point of view. Through the use of glass and ceramic, two materials that figure prominently in the Museum’s collection, the new building design explores and interprets the craft traditions of the institution’s core mission.

//Building Size

• Height: 158 feet (12 floors, including 2 subterranean levels)
• Footprint: 4,770 square feet

//Building Materials

• Existing Structure: Poured-in-place concrete
• New Exterior Cladding:
- 22,000 custom-glazed terra-cotta tiles, 30 x 6 each, manufactured by Royal Tichelaar Makkum
- 24″-wide ribbons of insulated glass, both fritted and clear, developed by Oldcastle Glass

//Total Project Cost

$90 million


Launched in 2003, the capital campaign has raised $86 million to date in support of the acquisition and redevelopment of the site.

//Endowment Campaign

The Museum has also launched a $20-million endowment campaign, which continues beyond the opening of the new building. $13 million has been raised to date.

//Museum Leadership

Jerome A. Chazen, Chairman of the Capital Campaign for 2 Columbus Circle
Barbara Tober, Chairman of the Board
Nanette Laitman, President of the Board
Holly Hotchner, Nanette L. Laitman Director

//Project Team

Construction Management –  F. J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc., New York, NY
Structural Engineer –  Robert Silman & Associates, New York, NY, and Washington, D.C.
Mechanical Engineer –  Arup, New York, NY
Curtain Wall Consultant R.A. Heintges & Associates, New York, NY
Exhibition Design –  Kiss + Zwigard Architects, New York, NY
Retail Design - JGA, Southfield, MI
Signage and Media Design - Pentagram, New York, NY

For more pictures visit the architects’ website:

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