New York’s Smithsonian outpost, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, has achieved its capital goal for their RE:DESIGN campaign. The $54 million renovation will expand the museum’s current site, the historic Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue. Along with a recently completed expansion of two townhouses, the new Cooper-Hewitt will host bigger exhibitions, collection spaces, and classrooms.
The RE:DESIGN campaign will be completed by Gluckman Mayner Architects along with Beyer Blinder Belle. Aside from historic preservation of the mansion, the new expansion will also strive for LEED certification. Expanding the exhibition space from 10,000 to 16,000 square feet, the new spaces will convert office space to accommodate larger exhibitions, including an open space for larger pieces like automobiles.
The expansion is the most ambitious in the museum’s history, fusing a 20th century mansion with a 21st century museum. By rearranging the programming within the museum, more of the permanent collection can come out of storage and be on permanent display. The extra space will also allow for the museum to be open year round, instead of being closed for brief periods for installation between shows.
The museum has recently outgrown the gorgeous Carnegie Mansion on 91st Street and acquired two historic townhouses on the nearby East 90th Street. Those renovations house the National Design Library (which is open to students and design professionals), the Master’s Program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design, and other museum administration offices. The museum also recently completed a state-of-the-art conservation lab, giving curators and students access to learn about conservation. Unlike the lab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper-Hewitt’s lab will be accessible to the public by appointment.
The RE:DESIGN fund was made possible with money raised by private donors, board members, and funds from the Department of Cultural Affairs and other governmental grants.