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In New York, an Elevator is an Art Gallery
By Architecture / IO, 23 Sep 2010
Where space is a premium in a city like New York, architects have to stretch the limits of their designs and creativity. For the firm Foster + Partners’ new building on Bowery, the tight space meant a brilliant use of the oft-overlooked elevator.
The Sperone Westwater Gallery had only 25 feet of entrance space that extended 100 feet at the back, so making an iconic gesture seemed almost impossible. And for an art gallery, a grand entrance is essential.
So Norman Foster and his team used the central elevator as part of the gallery’s exhibition space. The ‘elevator’ became a 12 by 20-foot moving room that connects the five floors where works of art will be displayed. According to the firm, the room will allow visitors to “move gradually between levels and will be a prominent feature along the Bowery”.
And the moving room can also function an ‘additional space’ too. By parking the moving room as required—a separate elevator and stairs will provide alternative access—space can be extended. For this gallery, the art isn’t what’s on the walls—it’s the walls themselves.
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