The New Misfit Museum


Acqua Alta2

Experiments in Motion

Beyond the Street

The New Misfit Museum

Oyster House






Freeman Alley


Columbia GSAPP Summer 2011 with Carolina Ihle & Yu Zhang
Studio Critic - Toshihiro Oki

New renovated open galleries

The aim of the project is to preserve the marginal character of the Bowery and the spirit of the New Museum through a series of ‘misfit’ interventions as a means of deinstitutionalization. The museum will be tied together with the rest of the block through exterior circulation rather than a centralized core, allowing for the development of a Bowery-based artists’ community as well as a degree of gentrification control as the neighborhood evolves over time.

Existing building reimagined with a circulation-lined atrium

As the intention of art evolves to focus more on interaction and performance-based creations the exhibition space must become less of a static object and more of a morphing form. This change in focus has created a void in unique exhibition spaces and forced artists to rely on social interaction and other mediums in order to engage the public. While the artist paints the future by creating social connections, this future still leaves the artist in the role of outcast within society.


The museum is constantly in need of expansion – the purchase of the neighboring building has allowed for the potential of new exhibition spaces as well as new forms of social interaction to grow. However, how can it grow without contradicting the ever-morphing, liberated character of the New Museum through techniques commonly denounced as “territorialization” and “invasion”? How can the over institutionalization of the New Museum be avoided?

Examples of new gallery spaces

Treated as a continuous space, the new “misfit” museum results from an understanding that it is part of a larger urban network. By connecting to the existing and expanding municipal infrastructure, the project allows for potential future spread and development. The extensions propose a connection to the subway level as well as provide a series of dark underground galleries punctured by moments of light. The first floor of the existing SANAA building extends to a continuous space that provides an opening to a series of varying internal and external pedestrian experiences.