Museum of Arts and Design (2008)
New York, New York

The Museum of Arts and Design sits on an unusually small block that limits the building’s footprint and the size of each floor plate. After subtracting the existing elevator core, egress stair, loading, and retail from the footprint, the public ground floor lobby is reduced further. Working within these tight conditions, the museum’s feature stair was designed to be as light and airy as possible, minimizing visible mass. The solution is a stair delicately suspended by a veil of stainless steel cables gracefully floating without diagonal structure or support. A thin folded steel plate rises along the veil supporting a thickened, curving layer of white oak for the stair’s treads and risers.

The upper gallery floors reconcile the serpentine horizontal and vertical cuts seen on the building’s exterior with the galleries on the interior. The apparent composition of the elevation is revealed to be a more complex spatial operation as the cuts move through the floor and ceilings, allowing diffuse light to pass between levels and providing a sense of the spaces beyond. The design relationships established through the alignments, tangents, and detailing of the cuts further the sense of spatial abstraction and structural ambiguity.

Bryan Young was a Designer for the Museum of Arts and Design at Allied Works Architecture; Brad Cloepfil (AWA) was the principal in charge of the project.