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Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York by Leeser Architecture
May 8th, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Leeser Architecture
Completed in 2011, the Museum of the Moving Image houses a comprehensive collection dedicated to educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. Leeser Architecture’s expansion and renovation of this unique museum allows for the interplay of rich moving image history with innovative technology and cutting edge design.
The visitor enters the building through a portal of semi-transparent, mirrored glass, displaying the museum logo. The lobby is given shape by a surface strategically cut and folded to allow for the projection of moving images. The lobby’s faceted interior indicates access to the major program elements, which begin adjacent to the lobby and move throughout the building, including a 267- seat theater, education center, screening room, changing exhibition gallery, collection storage facility, special events space, and courtyard. The exterior features a second ‘cut and folded’ surface, wrapping the addition in an innovatively designed pattern of triangular metal panels. The expanded Museum of the Moving Image integrates the existing structure seamlessly with the substantial new addition through a grand hallway which connects the two. It will be an environment where complexity is created from the convergence of imposing, enduring architecture and the fleeting transparency of the filmic image.
The detailing for the Museum of the Moving Image is as minimal as possible, yet clear in its definition of edges, joints, surfaces, folds and cuts. The thinness of material is emphasized through open joints, no caulking is used on the exterior. Tolerances have been extremely tight, the solid aluminum panels appear to be floating in space describing the buildings volume not unlike a digital wire mesh defines an implied volume. A complex system of rain gutters behind the facade panels allows for this effect of weightlessness and sharp precision. On the interior a similar system of open joints makes the surfaces appear as if they are floating suspended in space. Here the softness required to accomplish acoustic dampening of the sound is expressed through softness of the individual panels themselves, shaped through vacuum forming airplane non-flammable plastics covered with fabric of woven felt.
The detailing for the Museum of the Moving Image is as minimal as possible, yet clear in its definition of edges, joints, surfaces, folds and cuts. The thinness of material is emphasized through open joints, no caulking is used on the exterior. Tolerances have been extremely tight, the solid aluminum panels appear to be floating in space describing the buildings volume not unlike a digital wire mesh defines an implied volume. A complex system of rain gutters behind the facade panels allows for this effect of weightlessness and sharp precision.
Detail: Theater Spaces
In the main theater (pictured left), the illusion of a floating surface is created through distinct, yet soft open joints between 1,136 triangular fabric panels. The lighting system is revealed in the open joints of the panels, emphasizing the suspension of the panels. The 267-seat theater accommodates classic as well as high-definition 3D projections, as well as provides a stage for lectures and other live events. The theater’s detailing in conjunction with its technological capabilities creates an unsurpassed film-going experience.
The 68-seat screening room (pictured below) is a striking contrast to the main theater. The screening room exposes loudspeakers and a grey, perforated acoustical wall surface, bringing users inside of the moving image. The hot pink entrance and accent in the theater exhibits the same playful atmosphere as the main theater while providing an intimate space for small screenings and classroom use.
Detail: Interior Spaces
The vibrant colors of the theater entrances are a sharp contrast to the white finishes of the lobby and circulation spaces. The white walls of the entrance provide a seamless backdrop for a 50 foot long panoramic projection exhibit, immediately immersing visitors into the moving image. The space of the lobby (pictured below) is shaped by the underside of the main theater, efficiently using the space while creating a dynamic ceiling below.
Detail: Educational Spaces
The Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to the display and presentation of the moving image as well as to educate visitors through interaction. Upon reaching the first level, the grand stair widens into a 1,700 square-foot video screening amphitheater. The integration of ramp and stair allows for the amphitheater to be an interactive educational stage. The remainder of the first level as well as the second level is devoted to displaying the museum’s extensive collection. To accommodate more students the Digital Learning Suite (top image on opposite page) houses mobile computer workstations. The space is divided with custom designed curtains to allow for flexible space use.
Height 56 ft
Systems: Additional structural: steel, combination of multi-zoned variable volume air handling units and single zone air handling units, new chillers, new boiler plant, fully sprinklered, new electrical service for both existing building and addition.
Special Features: LEED Silver, aluminum panel rain screen system at the addition, two state of the art film theaters.
The project will achieve LEED silver status (pending). The Museum of the Moving Image uses reflective roofing, recycled and regional materials, air quality measures, electrical efficiency and water efficiency.
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