Moss Wins Queens Museum of Art Competition

Eric Owen Moss Architects of Culver City, CA, won the Queens Museum of Art (QMA), Queens, NY, design competition. The jury winnowed the 198 entrants down to five finalists in early September.

Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, the museum sits next to the Unisphere and served as fair pavilion in 1939. It also temporarily housed the United Nations.

“Moss’s design achieved two of our primary goals,” said Carma Fauntleroy, interim director of the QMA and a jury member. “It’s sensitive to the museum’s functional needs and it provides a stunning physical presence.”

The Moss design cuts out the middle of the building, creating a glass enclosed space with an amphitheater facing the exterior walls of the “Panorama of New York,” the world’s largest architectural model. Low-voltage wiring controls the degree of transparency of the glass, allowing for privacy if desired.

The walls of the Panorama serve as a backdrop or stage on one side of the new section; on the other side, a double-height multipurpose space with five vertical-lift glass doors form small galleries or one large, contiguous expanse. Parts of the existing facade and some office/support areas along the periphery of the building are left intact.

Evidence Design of Brooklyn, NY, won second prize. They opened the interior of the building by taking down the enclosures around the Panorama, giving it more public access and exposure.

Hanrahan + Meyers Architects of New York City, third prize winners, created a series of five structures described as “a field of bridges.” Television screens mounted on the exterior side facing the highway would transmit what’s going on inside the museum to those motoring past on Long Island’s Grand Central Parkway.

The two remaining finalists submitted bold, but perhaps more expensive solutions. Salazar Davis Architects of New York City literally opened the museum by removing central walls and building a five-story tower. Fox & Fowle Architects, also of New York City, chose to unite the two sides of the park that the highway divides by shooting an arm directly from the building over the Grand Central Parkway.

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