Rem Koolhaas’s OMA New York to Design New Museum Expansion
The New Museum’s ethereal building at 235 Bowery, designed by the Japanese firm SANAA and completed in 2007, helped it become one of Manhattan’s top cultural institutions. But it was inevitable that the museum would expand beyond that somewhat constricted building as soon as it was able to. In 2008, the museum bought the six-story masonry building next door at 231 Bowery and began raising money for an expansion. Now it has chosen OMA New York, an offshoot of the Rotterdam-based firm founded by Rem Koolhaas, to design a new building, containing galleries and ancillary spaces, at 231 Bowery.
In recent years, OMA New York, headed by the Japanese-born Shohei Shigematsu, has been operating largely independently of Koolhaas, but the New Museum wants both architects’ input. Koolhaas, 72, “is involved as contributing partner, but the design is being led by Shohei and OMA New York,” said OMA spokesman Jeremy Higginbotham. This will be Koolhaas’s first public building in New York. (He has designed several Manhattan interiors, including that of the Prada store on lower Broadway.)
For Koolhaas, perhaps the most influential architect of the last 40 years, the New York commission was a long time coming. Koolhaas idealized the city in his 1978 treatise Delirious New York. But several earlier attempts to build in Manhattan, including an addition to the Whitney Museum of American Art and a hotel for Ian Schrager on Astor Place, fell through, and by the turn of the century, the architect was delirious no longer.Still, Koolhaas said in 2003, “I remain committed to New York. It is an extremely critical part of my mental map.” He has long had ties to the New Museum, dating back to its first IdeasCity conference, in 2011, when he was the keynote speaker. That year, Koolhaas and and Shigematsu together curated an exhibition on historic preservation at the New Museum. Though Koolhaas argued forcefully against overpreservation, he seems to have softened his stance with several projects, including the Garage Museum in Moscow and the Prada Foundation in Milan, that incorporate existing structures.
The new building, funded by an $85 million capital campaign, will double the museum’s footprint on the Bowery and add about 50,000 square feet to the New Museum. It is not yet known whether OMA will preserve the existing facade of 231 Bowery. The project is expected to break ground in 2019.
This article was originally published on architecturaldigest.com