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Children's Museum of the Arts / WORKac

With the small Chinatown site proving to be too confining for the growing Children’s Museum of the Arts, the institution secured a new space in Hudson Square, New York.  Now that the new space is three times the size of the Chinatown site, WORKac has designed a museum where the activities are connected in a natural manner and are organized around a central colorful gallery.  This dramatic increase in square footage will allow the museum to reinterpret the best parts of their current museum and add the new programs they had long desired. More about the project after the break.

Designed with lively colors and playful spaces, the exhibition space is a place of “production as well as presentation of the art.”    The main gallery is surrounded by a compressed band of color, a colorful spatial transition between the “white boxes” of the gallery and classrooms. Defined by CMA new logo colors, the color wheel is a way finder to the different programs and transforms smaller spaces into highly specific experiences– or ‘moments’ – to co-exist along more open and flexible spaces.

The museum is divided into different zones that are designed for specific age groupings.  For instance, upon entering the museum, the ‘7 and up’ kids can access the gallery on the upper level which is linked to art studios, a clay bar and the media lab. At the lower level, the younger kids and their parents can get into the strollers parking leading to the Wee arts studio, a space dedicated to toddlers that can be combined with the adjacent classrooms typically rented for birthday parties.

Spanning above the entrance, and part of the color band, a bridge features graffiti art and links to the museum’s famous Ball Pond; a green circular elevated structure highly visible from both the entrance and the outside.  In the Art Studios, a large circular sink, the ‘sink-o-rama’ transforms the ordinary act of washing hands and supplies into a fun and memorable experience.

The museum surfaces are designed clearly thinking of the primary users of the space as every surface allows for children to both produce and learn about art.

Cite:Karen Cilento. "Children's Museum of the Arts / WORKac" 24 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/122184/childrens-museum-of-the-arts-workac/>