American Folk Art Museum


The American Folk Art Museum is an idiosyncratic home for idiosyncratic art. A 40 foot wide, 100 foot long site on 53rd street is home for the American Folk Art Museum. Completed in 2001, the eight level museums is the first new museum built in New York in over three decades. Four upper floors are devoted to gallery space for permanent and temporary exhibitions. A small café overlooks 53rd street from the mezzanine and provides a view of the two-story atrium. To accommodate the program the building extends two levels below ground; one floor holds the auditorium and the classrooms while the lowest level houses the museum offices, library and archive. At the street level is a museum store, accessible during non-museum hours via a separate entrance. A skylight above a grand stair between the second and third floors fills the adjacent galleries with natural light. Openings at each level allows light to filter down to the lowest level. Interior spaces are animated by changing light. Art is built into the structure and circulation paths of the building. In addition to the gallery space, a series of niches display a more permanent selection of art objects. Visitors choose from different routes to move through the building and to walk from floor to floor. The Folk Art Museum is surrounded on three sides by the Museum of Modern Art. The façade of the Folk Art Museum makes a quiet statement of independence. Metal panels of white bronze, cast at an art foundry, clad the façade. Variation within the surface was achieved by casting the panels from sand molds taken from the texture of concrete. Sculptural in form, the façade recalls an abstracted open hand. The panels fold inward to create a faceted plane. The façade catches the glow of the rising and setting sun, subtly shifting with the weather and the seasons. The building has recently been sold to the Museum of Modern Art.

Constructed, 2001


Old - AIA National Honor Award in 2003Old - AIANY Chapter Design Award in 2002Old - Built by Women in 2015