Location
2 Columbus Circle

Completion
2008

Client
Museum of Arts & Design

Square Footage
65,000 SF

Architect
Allied Works Architecture Inc.

Museum of Arts & Design

Sciame was the Construction Manager responsible for the construction of the new home of the Museum of Arts & Design. Which was the result of an international competition to renovate the well known Edward Durell Stone building standing at 2 Columbus Circle. Originally completed as the Huntington Hartford Gallery in 1963, the Portland, Oregon based Allied Works Architecture, Inc. approached the existing structure with a desire to “unzip” the imposing façade and bring more light into the new gallery floors. The architect’s design called for a series of cuts into the windowless exterior to bring light into the building and to connect the visitor experience to Columbus Circle outside. The unique “S” shaped cuts in the facade also followed through the gallery floor slabs, connecting the central elevator core with the exterior via glass-covered slots in the floors. The floor slots would also transmit light up and down between the vertically stacked gallery floors.

On the 45,000 square foot exterior, the existing white marble was replaced with terra cotta tiles. The design intent was for the exterior tiles to relate to the museum’s mission of promoting handmade objects and crafts. At the first floor, the storefront was pushed out to the edge of the buildable area to capture more space for the lobby and the museum store. The signature concrete columns at the first floor, known as the “lollipops,” were maintained and enclosed within the storefront.

The structural work was complicated by the project’s location. Situated on its own city block and surrounded on four sides by one of the busiest intersections in New York City, 2 Columbus Circle presented a number of logistical challenges. Delivery and erection of structural steel and pre-cast concrete stairs had to take place at night and on weekends so as not to disrupt traffic. The building’s small, irregular shaped floor plate of less than 4,700 gross SF also made for tight working conditions and difficult staging for men and materials, especially during shoring, demolition, and erection of steel.

In bringing a major cultural institution back to this location and contributing to the master plan for Columbus Circle, the Museum of Arts & Design has not only created a unique new building, it has helped to revitalize a neighborhood.