On July 4, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum enjoyed its last day open to the public until 2013. Primarily housed in the historic Andrew Carnegie Mansion on 5th Avenue along New York City’s Museum Mile, the building is closed for a complete renovation. Cooper-Hewitt will continue to host exhibitions and education programs at various off-site locations throughout the city until it reopens. New York–based firm Gluckman Mayner designed the new spaces, while Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners is the executive architect overseeing the historic restoration.
Main goals for the project include expanded exhibition spaces within the building’s existing square footage and improved visitor experiences with better circulation and lighting. During the process, the museum’s first floor will be meticulously restored to its 19th-century condition with a new integrated lighting design to showcase the mansion’s original features. In addition to highlighting the building, first floor spaces will house a new textiles conservation lab and be home to This Is Design, a permanent exhibition detailing the museum’s mission.
The National Design Library and staff offices, which currently are scattered throughout the second and third floors, will be relocated to the museum’s townhouses on nearby 90th Street. This move will increase the Carnegie Mansion’s exhibition space by 60 percent. The addition of more flexible galleries, especially on the third floor, will allow for a wider range of design objects to be shown. And for the first time ever, the townhouses will be partially open to the public for the National Design Library’s new reading rooms and a dedicated area for its rare book collection.
Repurposing existing spaces and restoring parts of the Carnegie Mansion, along with other sustainable details, are expected to earn the project LEED certification. To read more about the museum’s redesign or find a schedule of off-site exhibitions, visit the Cooper-Hewitt website.