The Dazzling NEW Museum Of Arts And Design (MAD)

It's taken a few years from design to realization, but the Museum of Arts And Design (MAD) will finally re-open in its new diggs on September 27, 2008. Its new address: 2 Columbus Circle, right at the southwest corner of Central Park, right at the heart of New York City's world stage for theatre, ballet, orchestra, opera, and now arts and design.


from Tom Fletcher's NY Architecturefrom Tom Fletcher's NY Architecture


Several streets converge onto Columbus Circle, as you can see below in an aerial view of the Circle. The southwest entrance to Central Park is on the top left of the photo and the light-colored building on the right is where the MAD is now located... but the building doesn't look like that any more. You can't see it, but the Lincoln Center, Julliard School of Music, Carnegie Hall, and several other arts showcases are well within walking distance of the new MAD.


from Tom Fletcher's NY Architecturefrom Tom Fletcher's NY Architecture


Location: The Former "Lollipop Building"

The new MAD is now in the totally re-designed "Lollipop Building," that light colored building you saw in the above photo. (2 Columbus Circle is closest to West 59th Street and 8th Avenue,) The Lollipop Building was designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1964 to showcase the art collection of Huntington Hartford , heir to The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, aka the A&P supermarkets. The nickname "Lollipop Building" was ascribed to the structure after a less than complimentary review published by architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable, in which she called Stone's building a "die-cut Venetian palazzo on lollipops."

In the photo below, you can see what Huxtable was referring to:



Here is an older black-and-white of the Lollipop Building from the New York City Blog Estate.



The New Museum of Arts And Design Building

Despite tremendous efforts by historical societies to preserve the Lollipop Building, architect Brad Cloepfil (Allied Works Architecture ) made some major changes to the inside and facade of the Lollipop. Its glazed iridescent terra cotta tiles create a magnificent refection of city lights and natural light, livening up the facade.





The inside of the new MAD has also undergone major renovation, changed to suit the many new programs and projects of the museum. The new facility is no longer a mere closet for MAD's holdings, many of which could not be on permanent display because of lack of space on the four floors of an office building MAD previously called home. (West 53rd Street and 5th Avenue).

And look at the natural light afforded to the gallery space by the carvings in the exterior of the new building. These "windows" not only allow light to come into the exhibit rooms, but provide great views of New York City to the public.


MAD now has double the gallery space of its last home plus plenty of room for offices, artist in resident studios, workshop rooms for students of all ages, a 155 seat auditorium, museum store, and a top floor restaurant with really great views of the city. If you would like to get an idea of exactly what MAD can do now because it has the space to do it, look at this chart comparing the provisions of the old space to the new.

The Lollipops are still there!





The new MAD has exciting plans for its future. In addition to showing its permanent collection of 2000  pieces of glass, clay, metal, fiber, and wood designs that range in scope from jewelry to furniture and architectural design, it can host traveling exhibits and other temporary exhibits of ornament and design.  MAD can now be a leading arts, crafts, and design center where local and international visitors can enjoy and take part in its programs. In addition, it will be an learning and work center for career artists and designers from all over the world.

sources: Museum of Arts and Design, Allied Works Architecture, Tom Fletcher's New York Architecture, New York Times, New York City Blog Estate, and Wikipedia

Sep 26, 2008
by Anonymous


the new looks as ugly as the old. But to each their own.

Sep 27, 2008
by Anonymous

Cloepfil's building stinks

Cloepfil's building stinks

Sep 28, 2008
by Toby
Toby's picture

Mad Silence

Thanks for your comments, Mad Silence. I will be visiting the MAD exhibits soon too. As for the New Museum, I agree that the exterior of the building is not as attractive as I would have hoped.