“In November 2013, the Queens Museum ushered in a new phase in the institution’s history, completing an expansion project that gives New York a spectacular new art venue, and provides the Museum with the space necessary to better serve its diverse communities.
Since the Museum’s founding in 1972, there had been an underlying goal of occupying the entirety of the New York City Building, and now, with the design insight of Grimshaw Architects, the new Queens Museum has realized that ambition, doubling in size to 105,000 square feet, and been transformed into a nexus where the art world and real world can engage in open, meaningful dialogue.
In conceiving of the design for the new space, the Museum’s aspirations were clear: a building that embodies the overarching philosophy of openness, integrating with Flushing Meadows Corona Park on the east and appearing vibrant and inviting from the Grand Central Parkway on the west.
The interior should provide room for the display and care of growing permanent collections, spacious galleries for temporary exhibitions, and flexible and welcoming educational and public programming spaces to serve the Museum’s myriad communities.
With daylight streaming into the new Museum through a series of skylights, and with soaring 48 foot ceilings, the entire space rings with an airiness that fits in well with its setting in a park. A suite of six galleries, ranging from 800 to 2,400 square feet, allows for concurrent exhibitions of different scales and flexible curatorial choices.
The galleries ring a large central sunken living room where experiences and ideas are shared, playing a role similar to that of a town square. Hanging above is a stunning light reflecting lantern composed of glass ribs that appear to float beneath a large skylight.
Not only a visual focal point, this crucial piece allows visitors in the sunken living room directly underneath a glimpse of the sky above while managing the trajectory of natural light entering the space. The surrounding galleries are further shaded from this natural light by a series of strategically aligned louvers acting as a ceiling.
Galleries house a varied temporary exhibition program, as well as two long-term installations – highlights and changing exhibitions from the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, and From Watersheds to Faucets: The Marvel of the NYC Water Supply System, a partnership with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.” Queens Museum
“The design called for a building which was integrated with the park on the east and was visible from the highway on the west. It required an interior that provided room for an expanded permanent collection of art and culture, spacious temporary galleries, expanded educational and public events spaces, as well as a special branch of the Queens Borough Public Library.
Grimshaw‘s design expands the building to fill the approximately 9754 sq m New York City Building, adding a range of new exhibit spaces complete with “back of house” facilities including art storage and exhibit preparation space. The expansion allows the Museum to expand their permanent collection, which now has adequate space for exhibitions. ” Grimshaw Architects
Location: Queens, New York, USA
Architects: Grimshaw Architects
Executive Architect: Ammann & Whitney
Structural Engineering: Ammann & Whitney
Specialty Structures: M. Ludvik Engineering
Services Engineer: Buro Happold
Museum Consultant: Lord Cultural Resources
Landscape Architect: Mathews Nielsen
Size: 9,754 sq m
Cost: $68 million
Client: Queens Museum, New York City Department of Design & Construction
Photo: David Sundberg / Esto