New Museum unveils plans for second building

A rendering of the new building, which will be just to the right of the museum's original building. (Courtesy OMA)

BY GABE HERMAN | The New Museum will be adding a new building.

The Lower East art museum — which focuses on contemporary art — announced details of its plan for a second building, which will rise next to its current location.

The new addition will be at 231 Bowery, at Prince St. Sporting seven floors, it will enclose 60,000 square feet, including 11,000 square feet of exhibition space across three floors of galleries. It will double the museum’s overall exhibition space.

A rendering of the New Museum’s planned new building, at center right, which will be just to the right of the museum’s original location. (Courtesy OMA)

The galleries will be on the second, third and fourth floors, and be able to connect with existing galleries in the original building. Ceiling heights will be aligned, to allow for bigger exhibition spaces, though the galleries will also be able to be used separately.

The new building’s ground floor will include an 80-seat restaurant, an expanded lobby, a bookstore and a public plaza. The fifth floor will house NEW INC, an arts organization that the museum calls a cultural incubator and includes people in such fields as the arts, business and urban design.

The sixth floor will have a studio for an artist-in-residence and a forum space for events. Events will also be on the seventh floor, as well as educational programming.

“The building gives us the opportunity to continue to experiment with new formats and models around various areas of programmatic focus,” said Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum’s artistic director. “These areas include new productions and ambitious new commissions; contextual exhibition presentations; studio space for artist residencies; and international partnerships and collaborations with peer institutions around the world.”

The New Museum opened 12 years ago. It bought the current building next door, which has 50,000 square feet, for additional space for various programs. The new building at that site is to be designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), a Dutch firm, along with Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas, and in collaboration with Cooper Robertson.

“Since the New Museum opened on the Bowery in December 2007, the museum has become an international cultural destination welcoming millions of visitors,” said Lisa Phillips, the New Museum’s director. “We are thrilled to work with OMA to address our current and future needs, and selected them for their exceptional response to our brief, their civic passion and future thinking. The OMA design will provide seamless connectivity and horizontal flow between the two buildings, expanded space for our world-renowned exhibitions, and access to some of our most innovative programs that the public currently cannot see.”

The new building will be named after Toby Devan Lewis, a longtime trustee of the museum, following a lead gift of $20 million, which is the largest donation in the museum’s history.

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