Queens, New York, US | 2001


A project of the importance of the Queens Museum of Art represents a unique opportunity to implement fundamentally new models and possibilities to create a new museum typology.  Exhibitions must not only encompass a wide range of types and requirements, from the permanent holdings and the panorama to temporary exhibits and new media, but do so in a context that will attract an increasingly diverse type of museum-goer, whose expectations are radically enlarged in terms of scope and interest.


We are proposing a fundamentally new museum type that is, in a sense, a dynamic hybrid between the Kunsthalle model, a traditional modernist white box and the postmodern museum. These museum typologies, formerly mutually exclusive, require an architecture that to a great extent fixes their organizational possibilities: the type of shows mounted and the character of spaces concieved. Our proposal reformulates the problem, by allowing the organization of the museum to change according to the type and duration of the exhibitions desired. This is achieved by tapping into a new paradigm of modularity, one which with equal ease generate all of the existing exhibition types and some new ones as well. The museum will therefore have the ability to configure itself within one typology as a whole, or to display a continuous variety depending upon the exhibitions desired. In addition to traditional forms of art, this flexible system of display which is based upon theaterical technologies for event and spectacle is suited to experimentation by both curator and artist alike.


Social space is a fundamental attractor and engine for the life of the museum. The cafe, store, educational facilities, panorama and roof garden are essential to this dynamic, amplifying the vitality of the exhibitions, while at the same time connecting the museum to a larger context. These functions are thus located strategically at boundaries between public and private, inside and outside, so as to promote the public character of the institution.  Thus, the building as a whole is not an object, but rather a destination continuous with the park surrounding it. The multiplicity of events the building is able to sustain simultaneously, through their synergy becomes a major attraction.

Project Info

Finalist International Competition  |  Type: Museum  |  Structure: Multiple


Project Credits


Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto


Design Team

Wolfgang Gollwitzer, Matthias Blass, Rhett Russo, Jason Johnson

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