Concluding an eight-year process, the Queens Museum has finally reopened to the public. Grimshaw was selected through the City of New York’s Design Excellence Program to head the project, which is the museum’s latest renovation since Rafael Viñoly Architect’s work in 1994.
The new expansion more than doubles the space, bringing the total square footage to 105,000. Previously, the museum shared the New York City Building with the World’s Fair Ice Rink. With the completion of the project, the museum now occupies the entire building. The former ice rink area is now a glowing room with 48-foot-tall ceilings and a series of overhead lights. In addition to an enlarged exhibition space, the renovation brings new rooms for educational programs, performance spaces, a café, a larger bookstore and museum shop, and eight artist studios. The exterior façade also received some updates, while still maintaining the integrity of the original structure. These changes have allowed the museum to expand its programming and begin the Queens Museum Studio Residency Program.
To commemorate the successful project, a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by such notable figures as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was held on October 30. During the celebration, it was announced that an extension is also planned, scheduled for completion in 2015. This will allow for a branch of the Queens Library to join the museum.