Childrens Museum of the Arts / Work AC

© Ari Marcopoulos

Architects: Work AC
Location: 103 Charlton St, ,
Design Team: Dan Wood, Amale Andraos – Principals; Sam Dufaux – Project Architect; Nick Hopson, Tamicka Marcy, Beth O’Neill, Jesung Park with Lasse Lyhne-Hansen, Kevin Lo, Esben Serup Jensen, Rùni Weihe
Client: Children’s Museum of the Arts
Built Area: 1050 sqm
Cost: €2.1 Million (US$2.8 million)
Completion: 2011
Photographs: Ari Marcopoulos


© Ari Marcopoulos

Work Architecture Company
Children’s Museum of the Arts 2011

After 20 years in a tight space near Chinatown, New York City’s beloved Children’s Museum of the Arts secured a new space three times the size of their previous location, giving the CMA an opportunity to reinterpret the best parts of their current museum and add the new programs they had long desired.

© Ari Marcopoulos

The spaces are organized around a large central gallery that gives CMA a new major exhibition and event space. Around the “white boxes” of the gallery and classrooms smaller spaces are transformed into highly specific ‘moments’ through a “color wheel” that identifies the different programs.

The existing configuration of the space, an old loading dock, is used to organize the different flows of people. Upon entering the museum, the ‘7 and up’ kids can access the large multipurpose art gallery on the upper level, along with the classrooms, art studios and media lab. The claymation-oriented media lab’s vestibule is the “clay bar” –where a bartender will serve modeling clay to kids.

© Ari Marcopoulos

At the lower level, the younger kids and their parents go through the “stroller parking garage” to the Wee Arts studio. Dedicated to toddlers, it includes a brightly colored upholstered “quiet room”. 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 structure highly visible to the entrance and the outside.


In the Art Studios, a large circular ‘sink-o-rama’ transforms the act of washing hands into a fun experience. The new CMA is designed to inspire children to both make art and learn about it: a placewhere production and presentation of art occurseamlessly.

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Cite: "Childrens Museum of the Arts / Work AC" 25 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>