The Museum of Arts and Design in New York

Photo of The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, New York
Before the 2002-2008 renovation
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, New York
Before the 2002-2008 renovation
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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The Museum of Arts and Design
Official name:The Museum of Arts and Design Chazen Building
Also known as:The Lollipop Building
Formerly:Two Columbus Circle
Formerly:New York City Cultural Affairs Department
Formerly:The New York Cultural Center
Formerly:Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art

2 Columbus Circle, New York, New York, Columbus Circle 10023
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A strange looking building that resembles a piece of modern art, because it was designed to house art. Its design is a concave upright rectangle like a giant marble juice box with all the juice sucked out of it.

In its original design, the building's dges were perforated with double rows of round holes arranged in squares of four. The perforations were designed to allow the art inside to be viewed, at least partially, in diffused natural light. At the top was a series of double volume arches, adding to the verticality of this building. The building was more than a place to house art, it was a modern design exhibit on its own.

The building's fortunes have been up and down. Just five years after it opened, the art museum that first occupied it closed and the building was turned over to a New Jersey college. Later, the building became offices for city bureaucrats. A decade later, even they moved out, leaving a very large, very pretty, very vacant space.

After four years of gathering dust the Museum of Art and Design was selected to take over the building. It put together a $90 million rehabilitation plan that replaced the aging and neglected mechanical systems inside while at the same time giving the skin of the building a makeover, much to the horror of preservation groups.

The new look is all about lines instead of pockmarks. Its right angles suggest a retro-modern look in the feel of Buck Rogers, but at the same time provide a visual link to the Time-Warner Center next door, which is also looks like concave rectangles with right angles. The lines are actually long windows which allow even more natural light into the interior spaces while allowing those inside to take advantage of the building's height and location to enjoy one of the more remarkable views available of Central Park.

More interesting than the lines is the actual skin of the building. It's now made up of 22,000 terra cotta tiles coated with an iridescent glaze. This causes the building display splashes of pink and purple across its face as the sun moves through the sky and the observer moves around Columbus Circle. The tiles are also symbolic because much of the museum's collection is made up of glass and ceramic pieces.

Quick Facts
  • Size: 54,000 square feet.
  • Footprint: 4,770 square feet.
  • Theater space: 155 seats
  • Stories above ground: 12
  • Stories below ground: 2
  • Facade tiles: 22,000
  • 1964 - The building opens.
  • 1969 - The building is turned over to Fairleigh Dickinson University. It uses the building to house its New York Cultural Center.
  • 1975 - The New York Cultural Center closes.
  • 1980's - The building becomes a tourist information center, and home to the city's Cultural Affairs Department.
  • 1998 - The building is abandoned.
  • 2004 - The National Trust names this building one of the most endangered in the nation.
  • September 27, 2008: This building reopens to the public as the Museum of Art and Design.
  • 2002-2008 redesign principal architect: Brad Cloepfil
  • 2002-2008 redesign project architect: Kyle Lommen
  • 2002-2008 redesign architecture firm: Allied Works Architecture
  • 2002-2008 redesign construction manager: F. J. Sciame Construction Co.
  • 2002-2008 redesign mechanical engineer: Arup
  • 2002-2008 redesign curtain wall consultant: R.A. Heintges & Associates
Did You Know?
  • The building was originally named after Huntington Hartford, heir to the A&P supermarket fortune. It is for that reason that the auditorium is decorated in red and orange -- the colors of the A&P supermarket chain.
  • The 2002-2008 renovation was opposed by preservationists and high-profile people like author Tom Wolfe and architect Robert A.M. Stern.
Rate This Skyscraper
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=688#Rate'>Current rating:50% 60%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>
Your Thoughts

There are seven comments.

  I give it five stars.It reflects Columbus circle and does appreciate it's surroundings.

G.Zhubrak - Thursday, May 7th, 2009 @ 10:16pm  

  Since I haven't seen the renovation I can only say that anything would be an improvement over that eyesore which used to look like a dreary 1960's prison.

Don Borgerson - Friday, November 14th, 2008 @ 7:59pm  

  I give it 4 stars because once you see it, you never forget it. Also it is a delicate artifact amidst its burly assertive big brothers. Keep it for the whimsey.

Mary L. Santarcangelo - Thursday, March 20th, 2008 @ 12:42am  

  Although not a particular fan of Stone, I do think it should be preserved as particular type of architecture of the time. I visited with Huntington Hartford (about 66") and if nothing else should be saved in his memory.

Thomas Yanul - Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 @ 12:49pm  

  I would first like to say I support saving quality architecture whether traditional, modern or whatever. While certainly modern and abstract this building has reached the phase where shear age seems to grant a sort of affection. This building is an architectural statement for statements sake alone and warrants no such affection. It carries little relation to the surroundings, site, or pedestrian. Age or isolationist design in this case does not justify any protection for a building that itself destroyed a venerable predecessor, the Grand Circle Hotel. What goes around...

T. Morgan - Thursday, August 16th, 2007 @ 3:18pm  

  So 60's in my opinion is not to impressive it lacks style it looks more like a air ventilator for the city's tunnels if they preserve it they should use special lighting techniques to enhance the appearance.

WRR1 NYC - Thursday, August 4th, 2005 @ 5:28am  

  An impressive piece of art/architecture. I wish it was in Baltimore!

Susan Moscareillo - Tuesday, February 15th, 2005 @ 8:06pm