2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Northeast: Mass MOCA, The Robert W. Wilson Building
Architect: Bruner/Cott Architects
Location: North Adams, Massachussetts
MASS MoCA breathes new life into a 17-acre industrial complex built in the late 1800s. The pioneering adaptive reuse project was completed in three phases, initially opening to international acclaim in 1999. The third and final phase, Building Six (the Robert W. Wilson Building), is the realization of Bruner/Cott Architects’ 25-year master plan, which continues MASS MoCA’s “museums within the museum” concept. The two buildings, a combined 130,000 square feet of undeveloped space, provide areas for video, film, and multimedia exhibits, as well as events, workshops, and storage. The buildings’ massive size, along with the complex’s interlocking courtyards, bridges, and walkways, offer the opportunity to experiment with open spaces, structural elements, and connections. Within inserted galleries, existing elements are woven into the new, resulting in a transparency that encourages collaboration.
“It’s refreshing to see an approach that embraces the existing buildings and not only finds new, dramatic spaces to exhibit art, but creates new spaces where none previously existed.” —Morris Adjmi, principal, Morris Adjmi Architects (juror)