The New Museum announced on June 26 plans for its second building, designed by OMA / Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas in collaboration with Cooper Robertson. This will be OMA’s first public building in New York City. The design complements and respects the integrity of the Museum’s SANAA-designed flagship building and replaces the Museum’s 50,000 square foot adjacent property at 231 Bowery, acquired in 2008. The new seven-story, 60,000 square foot building will include three floors of galleries, doubling the Museum’s exhibition space, along with additional space for the Museum’s many community and education programs, a permanent home for its cultural incubator NEW INC, as well as increased public amenities and improved vertical circulation.
James Keith Brown, President of the New Museum’s Board, also announced today that the Museum has received a lead gift of $20M to its Capital Campaign, the largest gift in the institution’s history, from longtime trustee Toby Devan Lewis. The Museum will recognize Lewis’s leadership role at the New Museum by naming the OMA building in her honor.
The Museum acquired the current building at 231 Bowery eleven years ago to provide additional space for expanded programs. Gradually over the past decade, the Museum has used the building to capacity for a range of activities including additional gallery space, NEW
INC, office space for Rhizome and IdeasCity, studio space for artists, archives, and back-ofhouse staging, prep, and storage. Following extensive research and study of many options, including renovating the existing structure, the Museum concluded that new, ground-up construction would be the most efficient way, both spatially and financially, to fulfill its needs and civic purpose. The OMA design improves vertical circulation with the addition of an atrium stair, which will offer views of the surrounding neighborhood. The stair and new entry align to the terminus of Prince Street, opening up the Museum to the city. The new building will also provide three additional elevators (two of which are dedicated to galleries) and more public spaces and services, including an expanded lobby and bookstore, an upper level forum for education and public programs connecting to the existing Sky Room, and a new 80-seat restaurant. The OMA building also provides space for a more efficient organization of vital back of house, storage, and office space. Adding a total of 10,096 sq. feet of exhibition space, the new galleries in the OMA building will connect with the SANAA building’s galleries on three levels (second, third, and fourth floors), with the ceiling heights aligning on each floor, doubling space for exhibitions and seamless horizontal connectivity between the buildings. The expanded spaces can be used singularly across the floor-plate to host larger exhibitions, or separately for diversity and curatorial freedom. The organization of new galleries and program spaces will support a stronger integration between exhibition programs and education, research, and residencies, that will help expand the Museum’s audiences.
The layout of the building program is as follows: lower levels devoted to back of house and storage; the ground floor to feature a new restaurant, expanded lobby, and bookstore, along with a public plaza set back at street level; second, third, and fourth floors for galleries; fifth
floor for NEW INC; sixth floor for an artist-in-residence studio, as well as a forum for events and gathering, which leads to the seventh floor for Education programming and additional events; and an atrium stair on the west façade, connecting each of the floors, along with an
elevator core at the front and rear. The new building’s façade is another notable attribute of OMA’s design. Using a laminated glass with metal mesh, the façade will provide a simple, unified exterior alongside the SANAA building, with a material that recalls and complements the SANAA façade, yet allows for a higher degree of transparency. The OMA building will communicate the activities of the Museum outwards while creating a more inviting presence drawing the public inwards.