about Glass on Columbus Circle
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) opened the doors of its new
quarters today for a press preview, and USGNN.com was there
to see the highly anticipated re-design and its innovative use of
The new home of MAD, on Columbus Circle, was originally built to
house the art collection of A&P heir Huntington Hartford. It
was marble-clad with small porthole-style windows. The new design,
by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, features a façade
of fritted glass and glazed terra-cotta tiles.
the press preview, Holly Hotchner, MAD's director, said that part
of the museum's mission is to relate arts and industry. This is
reflected in the re-design through the artistic features of the
façade and the craftsmanship that went into it being the
industry part of the equation.
She said the architect had been given a directive that they didn't
want "another muscular glass tower," but the use of materials
that reflected the mission of the museum. "The ceramic frit
was an extension of the museum's connection to ceramics," she
"The biggest idea of opening up this structure was to bring
light and views," Hotchner continued. "It's the only building
in New York City that has four exposed sides. You can walk all around
it. It sits on its own island." Hotchner also credited those
companies that had donated materials to the project, including Oldcastle
Glass, which donated the fritted glass for the curtainwall.
followed Hotchner on the podium. He said the re-design has been
a six-year process and part of the thinking was that the new design
would keep the historical imprint of the building. He explained
that the choice was made to have the building's "lollipops"
still be seen through the transparent glass. (The building was referred
to by architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable as a "die-cut
Venetian palazzo on lollipops," referring to its street-level
stanchions.) "It was a part of the decision for connecting
the original building with the re-design," he said.
"The force of light was central to our design," Cloepfil
said. "It has light on four sides and it was the most significant
single factor in the re-design. We wanted to make the building be
alive through the glaze in the ceramics, looking different as you
walk around it and different at different times of the day and the
year. Natural light is so essential to this collection," he
added referring to the museum's collection.
"It was a task of concrete removal and designing to let diffused
light into the building," he explained. "It was a case
of editing the building to let the light in."
German company Seele, which has done the glass installations for
some of the Apple stores, was the contract glazier for the project.
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