A pioneering adaptive reuse project, Mass MoCA breathes new life into a 17-acre industrial complex built in the late 1800s. The museum was completed in three phases, initially opening to international acclaim in 1999. The third and final phase, Building 6, is the realization of the architect’s 25-year master plan, which continues Mass MoCA’s “museums within the museum” concept. Two buildings with a combined 130,000sf of undeveloped space create areas for video, film, and multi-media exhibits, as well as events, workshops, and storage. The massiveness of both the buildings and the complex, with interlocking courtyards, bridges, and walkways, offered the opportunity to experiment with open spaces, structural elements, and connections. Design interventions weave in and out of over one thousand columns, hundreds of windows, and acres of maple factory floor. Existing spaces are edited, sculpting a two-story glass-roofed central core, a lounge at the museum’s “prow,” and two-story openings for art and visual connections. The original building remains legible—giving scale, context, and history—but has been thoroughly transformed for its new life as a museum.
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