SOM’s New International Center of Photography Opens in New York City

The glass façade of the new ICP Museum on Bowery. All photography by Saul Metnick.


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has designed the International Center of Photography’s new space on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Formally located in midtown, ICP now resides on the ground and below-grade levels of a residential building on the Bowery.


“Our design,” says SOM design partner Roger Duffy, “strives to connect this important NYC arts institution with its surroundings on the Bowery in order to fulfill ICP’s goal to engage with the public more actively.”

A café offers refreshment in the ground-level public space. 


Renovations included the creation of a public space on the ground level, fronted by glass and framed by stainless steel. “Open to the street,” Duffy says, “the glass façade and ground-level space invite people to explore the galleries inside.”


The ground-level Front Gallery merges with a café, serviced by its own street entrance, and a Rear Gallery toward the back. Stairs and an elevator offer access to the basement Lower Gallery. Throughout, exposed ceilings aerate low gallery floor-to-floor heights, while structural columns finished in concrete mix with exposed ductwork the team painted white.

Ceiling-mounted power grids throughout the galleries offer flexible lighting solutions. 


Founded in 1974, ICP inaugurates its new space with Public, Private, Secret, an exhibition that investigates the idea of privacy, which shows through January 2017. The ICP school, the educational arm that offers workshops and degree programs in photography education, will remain in the former ICP site at 1114 Avenue of the Americas, along with the institution’s vast library.


The ICP Museum is located at 250 Bowery in Manhattan.

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