Residents are hopeful that Foreign Office Architects (FOA)’s first museum design (and the firm’s first major US building) will help Cleveland’s urban-revitalization project move forward. Farshid Moussavi of the FOA London has designed a geometric volume that dominates the Uptown area’s site, creating a bold icon for the new Museum of Contemporary Art. Prior to this, the MOCA rented a 23,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the Cleveland Play House complex, but with this 34,000 sqf new home, the museum will be able to showcase a bigger selection and accommodate more visitors. More images, a cool video, and more about the project after the break.
The site’s triangular geometry at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road inspired Moussavi to respond with a geometry of triangles and trapezoids sloping at various angles, all morphing to create a powerful abstracted form.
Some of the sloping faces tilt toward the street creating reflections of the streetlife and sidewalks while other faces reflect the cloudy skies off their black Rimex stainless steel finish. The materiality of the façade allow the museum to reflect its urban surroundings, changing in appearance with differences in light and weather.
The building is designed to showcase a program of internationally emerging art in flexible gallery spaces. The first level will be constantly activated as its urban living room design allows visitors to relax, grab a bite to eat or shop. Visitors head to the second level to view the galleries and exhibition workshops, and pass the third floor filled with MOCA administrative offices, classrooms and lecture spaces before reaching the main exhibition gallery on the museum’s last level. Three of the building’s six facets, one of them clad in transparent glass, will flank a public plaza. This will provide a public gathering place and also serve as MOCA’s “front yard,” and will be the site of seasonal programming. From here, visitors and passersby may look through the transparent facet, site of the Museum entrance, into the ground floor, a space intended for socializing and for civic and cultural events. In addition to Foreign Office Architects, the design team for the new Museum includes executive architects Westlake Reed Leskosky, headquartered in Cleveland. More information about the project here.