With a desire to make a dramatic statement while maintaining an optimal amount of scenic views, transparent open spaces and windows beautifully contrast the heaviness and boldness of the rectangular forms of concrete. Located atop a 1,000-foot slope that overlooks Lake Cayuga in Ithaca, the museum was designed by I.M. Pei and John L. Sullivan, with additional help from the firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. The museum totals 61,000 square feet, with nine floors stacked high above the ground, housing the exhibit spaces. One floor rests underground, where additional galleries and meeting rooms are found. Through stacking the program instead of spreading it out over the lot, the architects were able to perserve much of the surrounding landscape and views. The massive concerete structure is punctured by long horizontal bands of windows that run along the upper floors. These enhance the space of the galleries, complementing the artworks displayed while providing a bright and airy exhibition space. Skylights are featured around the lobby, and framed in bronze-toned aluminum.
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