THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON

Design Highlights


Exterior
The 65,000-square-foot building features a dramatic folding ribbon form and a cantilever that extends to the water's edge. The façade consists of identically sized vertical planks that alternate between transparent glass, translucent glass, and opaque metal. The system provides a taught seamless skin that blurs the distinction between walls, windows and doors while responding to the requirements of the interior program.

State Street Corporation Lobby
The distinct tapering of the lobby directs visitors toward the Holly and David Bruce Visitor Center, with the bookstore directly behind facing the water. Along the eastern interior wall of the lobby is the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall, a space dedicated to original work commissioned from a new artist each year. A 140-square-foot elevator with glass walls on the long sides give a view of the harbor on one side, and all the floors passing by on the other.

Galleries
The museum's flexible column-free galleries feature moveable walls, 15 1/2-foot ceilings, an expansive adjustable skylight system allowing natural light to be filtered evenly throughout, and polished concrete floors. A glass wall facing the harbor is a special feature of the John Hancock Founders Gallery, which spans the entire width of the north end of the exhibition space and connects east and west galleries. The cantilevered galleries are supported by four massive trusses, which are silhouetted behind the translucent exterior walls. The "gallery box" can be illuminated by night to create a radiant, welcoming waterfront presence.


Poss Family Mediatheque
This vertically stepped-out space suspended from the underside of the cantilever serves as a digital media center. Equipped with computer stations for accessing digital resources about artists, exhibitions, and contemporary art, the space provides a stunning perspective of the water, framed as though through a viewfinder, with neither sky nor horizon in sight.
 
Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater
The floor and ceiling of the 325-seat theater on the second and third floors is created through the extension of the wood HarborWalk material from the public grandstand into the interior of the building. The remaining walls are glazed in clear glass allowing the harbor view to become the backdrop behind the 51-foot stage. The glass walls can be controlled to meet performance needs-from full transparency, to filtered light and no view, to total blackout.

Charles and Fran Rodgers Education Center
The two-story education center includes the Bank of America Art Lab, a workshop and classroom space for the ICA's programs for adults, families, and teens, and the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Family Digital Studio for creating digital works of art.

Water Café and Putnam Investments Plaza

The north wall of the café features sliding glass doors that face the Harbor. These 6' x 12' glass panels extend from floor to ceiling and slide over and stack to create an open air dining space. The Putnam Investments Plaza is a 3,500-square-foot area adjacent to the museum café and the bold grandstand of public seating. The wood of the plaza merges with Boston's 47-mile HarborWalk, which then continues inside the building as the floor and ceiling material of the theater. This sheltered open space at ground level is a public area where people can enjoy views of Boston Harbor.

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