Contract - Reel Genius: Leeser Architecture designs Astoria’s new Museum of the Moving Image

design - features - education design



Reel Genius: Leeser Architecture designs Astoria’s new Museum of the Moving Image

21 March, 2011

-By Stacy Straczynski


When visitors step through the new street-level entryway to the redesigned Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, N.Y., it’s all “lights, camera, action.” With sleek, sophisticated interiors and an edgy, digitally inspired aesthetic, it’s hard to imagine that the project encountered financial problems, due to the economic meltdown that resulted in a shaky film industry during the renovation and expansion’s early stages.

The museum originally was a part of the Astoria Studio complex, built in 1818, and a product of the Astoria Redevelopment Project. Luckily, the museum’s exhibits and functions increasingly had grown in popularity since its start in 1981, but its own historic walls imposed limitations to its growth. “We knew we should be able to accommodate double the amount of school groups, but we couldn’t even get them up and down the stairs because it was so crowded,” says Rochelle Slovin, director of the Museum of the Moving Image. In fact, the museum resorted to segregating its viewing hours—school groups in the morning and general admission in the afternoon—just to accommodate visitors. Other infrastructure issues, including an outdated HVAC and theater, also plagued the facility.

Slovin issued a call for proposals, seeking a better use of interior space and a design that would transition the museum into the digital age. “We needed a cutting-edge firm—someone with an advanced aesthetic, who had an interest in media,” says Slovin. “And Thomas Leeser fit the bill.” Leeser and his firm Leeser Architecture drew up a chic, modern statement for the museum, inspired by computer screens. In lieu of the museum’s existing, oppressive, utilitarian appearance, Leeser opted for a lighter hand and incorporated varying shades of blue throughout the building to communicate movement into the digital age and make visitors feel as though they were in a digital screen, rather than a museum.

A 267-seat theater—with 68-seat screening room and video screening amphitheater—is set at the heart of the building, decked out in an intense blue to instill a sense of dislocation from the real world. “It’s almost a little like you’re about to take off on a spaceship; it gives a sense of disorientation,” Leeser says. “It’s film. You’re supposed to be transported into fantasy.”

Adding to this feeling of otherworldliness is Leeser’s selection of materials that impart an uninterrupted, natural flow from one space to the next, even when standing still. The entire museum features a jointless appearance, accomplished with seamlessly installed drywall, coated with screen paint for projection viewing, and a continuous polyester floor. Along with the felt-covered acoustic panels in the theater, the stairs are the only expressed joints in the building, serving as bridges that connect one space to another.

Although the museum only intended to renovate and reorganize spaces, the final design wound up including an expansion, ultimately realizing a third floor and Courtyard Garden that doubled the square footage to total approximately 100,000 sq. ft. “After we started and analyzed the program’s feasibility, we realized there were some things missing we had to accommodate for,” says Leeser, referring to temporary exhibition space that was off-site until now.

These additions nearly stalled the project, as the museum would need to raise funds to get the project off the ground just as the recession was hitting Wall Street and, likewise, the film industry. Leeser and Slovin were forced to go back to the drawing board to see where costs could be reduced without sacrificing the overall aesthetic. While functional requirements, in terms of operational elements such as the lighting system, were downgraded, Leeser feels that the financial challenges resulted in a more successful design. For example, they combined what would have been a fourth floor multipurpose area into space allocated for six individual classrooms on the third floor, rolling the two programs into one. According to Leeser, the decision not only saved money but was the best choice of action.

The renovated Museum of the Moving Image opened to the public on January 15, 2011, housing 14,000 objects from its Behind the Scene collection, as well as interactive experiences and commissioned artwork. And you’d be hard pressed to find a visitor or employee who now isn’t thrilled with the experience. “Tom Hooper, the award-winning director of the Oscar-nominated ‘The King’s Speech,’ was here in January, and he said, ‘What a magnificent cinema,’” details Slovin, with pride. “I love it! It is a perfect embodiment and realization of our dream of what this place might look like.”

who
Client: Museum of the Moving Image. Owner’s Representative: Levien & Company, Inc. Architecture firm name/location: Leeser Architecture; Thomas Leeser, Founder, Principal; David Linehan, Project Manager; Simon Arnold, Kate Burke, Sofia Castricone, Henry Grosman, Joseph Haberl, Design Team. Contractor: F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. Lighting: L’Observatoire International. Engineering: Anastos Engineering Associates- structural, Ambrosino, DePinto & Schmieder-mep. Landscape (if shown): David Dew Bruner. Construction Manager: F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. Audio/Visual: Scharff/Weisberg. Acoustician: Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc. Graphics: karlssonwilker inc. Exterior Wall: R. A. Heintges & Associates. MEP Engineers: Ambrosino, DePinto & Schmieder. Specification: Construction Specifications Inc. Structural Engineers: Anastos Engineering Associates. Civil/Geo-Technical: Stantec. Code/Expediting: JAM Consultants, Inc. Elevator: Van Deusen & Associates. Hazardous Materials: TRC Environmental Corporation. Projection Systems: MDC Group, LLC. Restaurant Program: JGL Foodservice Design. Security: Ducibella Venter & Santore. Sustainable Design: Atelier Ten. Telephone & Data: Shen Milsom Wilke. Textile Design: Cindy Sirko Courtyard: David Dew Bruner. AV Contractor: Electrosonic Inc. Security Contractor: Tritech Communications. Rendering: VUW. Graphics (if shown): karlssonwilker inc. Acoustician: Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc. Furniture dealer: Dossier Resources, Offices Limited Inc., Hightower, Silver Associates Ltd. Photographer: Peter Aaron/Esto, Courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image.

what
Wallcoverings: Designtex. Carpet/carpet tile: Bentley Prince Street. Glass: Competition Architectural Metals, Inc. Lounge seating: Moroso. Tables: Aspa Viccarbe. Seating Mayflower Stools, Materia. Theater seating: Irwin. Upholstery: Maharam. Student orientation cushions: Quinze & Milan. Conference table: Asplund, Dynamobel. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Rosebrand, Howe, Vitra. Architectural woodworking: Miller Blaker. Signage: Graphic Systems Group.

where
Location: Astoria, N.Y. Total floor area: 50,000 sq. ft. (existing), 47,700sq. ft. (new construction). No. of floors: 3. Avg floor size: 25,000 sq ft. Total staff size: 55. Cost: $67 million.




Reel Genius: Leeser Architecture designs Astoria’s new Museum of the Moving Image

21 March, 2011


Peter Aaron/Esto, courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image

When visitors step through the new street-level entryway to the redesigned Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, N.Y., it’s all “lights, camera, action.” With sleek, sophisticated interiors and an edgy, digitally inspired aesthetic, it’s hard to imagine that the project encountered financial problems, due to the economic meltdown that resulted in a shaky film industry during the renovation and expansion’s early stages.

The museum originally was a part of the Astoria Studio complex, built in 1818, and a product of the Astoria Redevelopment Project. Luckily, the museum’s exhibits and functions increasingly had grown in popularity since its start in 1981, but its own historic walls imposed limitations to its growth. “We knew we should be able to accommodate double the amount of school groups, but we couldn’t even get them up and down the stairs because it was so crowded,” says Rochelle Slovin, director of the Museum of the Moving Image. In fact, the museum resorted to segregating its viewing hours—school groups in the morning and general admission in the afternoon—just to accommodate visitors. Other infrastructure issues, including an outdated HVAC and theater, also plagued the facility.

Slovin issued a call for proposals, seeking a better use of interior space and a design that would transition the museum into the digital age. “We needed a cutting-edge firm—someone with an advanced aesthetic, who had an interest in media,” says Slovin. “And Thomas Leeser fit the bill.” Leeser and his firm Leeser Architecture drew up a chic, modern statement for the museum, inspired by computer screens. In lieu of the museum’s existing, oppressive, utilitarian appearance, Leeser opted for a lighter hand and incorporated varying shades of blue throughout the building to communicate movement into the digital age and make visitors feel as though they were in a digital screen, rather than a museum.

A 267-seat theater—with 68-seat screening room and video screening amphitheater—is set at the heart of the building, decked out in an intense blue to instill a sense of dislocation from the real world. “It’s almost a little like you’re about to take off on a spaceship; it gives a sense of disorientation,” Leeser says. “It’s film. You’re supposed to be transported into fantasy.”

Adding to this feeling of otherworldliness is Leeser’s selection of materials that impart an uninterrupted, natural flow from one space to the next, even when standing still. The entire museum features a jointless appearance, accomplished with seamlessly installed drywall, coated with screen paint for projection viewing, and a continuous polyester floor. Along with the felt-covered acoustic panels in the theater, the stairs are the only expressed joints in the building, serving as bridges that connect one space to another.

Although the museum only intended to renovate and reorganize spaces, the final design wound up including an expansion, ultimately realizing a third floor and Courtyard Garden that doubled the square footage to total approximately 100,000 sq. ft. “After we started and analyzed the program’s feasibility, we realized there were some things missing we had to accommodate for,” says Leeser, referring to temporary exhibition space that was off-site until now.

These additions nearly stalled the project, as the museum would need to raise funds to get the project off the ground just as the recession was hitting Wall Street and, likewise, the film industry. Leeser and Slovin were forced to go back to the drawing board to see where costs could be reduced without sacrificing the overall aesthetic. While functional requirements, in terms of operational elements such as the lighting system, were downgraded, Leeser feels that the financial challenges resulted in a more successful design. For example, they combined what would have been a fourth floor multipurpose area into space allocated for six individual classrooms on the third floor, rolling the two programs into one. According to Leeser, the decision not only saved money but was the best choice of action.

The renovated Museum of the Moving Image opened to the public on January 15, 2011, housing 14,000 objects from its Behind the Scene collection, as well as interactive experiences and commissioned artwork. And you’d be hard pressed to find a visitor or employee who now isn’t thrilled with the experience. “Tom Hooper, the award-winning director of the Oscar-nominated ‘The King’s Speech,’ was here in January, and he said, ‘What a magnificent cinema,’” details Slovin, with pride. “I love it! It is a perfect embodiment and realization of our dream of what this place might look like.”

who
Client: Museum of the Moving Image. Owner’s Representative: Levien & Company, Inc. Architecture firm name/location: Leeser Architecture; Thomas Leeser, Founder, Principal; David Linehan, Project Manager; Simon Arnold, Kate Burke, Sofia Castricone, Henry Grosman, Joseph Haberl, Design Team. Contractor: F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. Lighting: L’Observatoire International. Engineering: Anastos Engineering Associates- structural, Ambrosino, DePinto & Schmieder-mep. Landscape (if shown): David Dew Bruner. Construction Manager: F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. Audio/Visual: Scharff/Weisberg. Acoustician: Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc. Graphics: karlssonwilker inc. Exterior Wall: R. A. Heintges & Associates. MEP Engineers: Ambrosino, DePinto & Schmieder. Specification: Construction Specifications Inc. Structural Engineers: Anastos Engineering Associates. Civil/Geo-Technical: Stantec. Code/Expediting: JAM Consultants, Inc. Elevator: Van Deusen & Associates. Hazardous Materials: TRC Environmental Corporation. Projection Systems: MDC Group, LLC. Restaurant Program: JGL Foodservice Design. Security: Ducibella Venter & Santore. Sustainable Design: Atelier Ten. Telephone & Data: Shen Milsom Wilke. Textile Design: Cindy Sirko Courtyard: David Dew Bruner. AV Contractor: Electrosonic Inc. Security Contractor: Tritech Communications. Rendering: VUW. Graphics (if shown): karlssonwilker inc. Acoustician: Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc. Furniture dealer: Dossier Resources, Offices Limited Inc., Hightower, Silver Associates Ltd. Photographer: Peter Aaron/Esto, Courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image.

what
Wallcoverings: Designtex. Carpet/carpet tile: Bentley Prince Street. Glass: Competition Architectural Metals, Inc. Lounge seating: Moroso. Tables: Aspa Viccarbe. Seating Mayflower Stools, Materia. Theater seating: Irwin. Upholstery: Maharam. Student orientation cushions: Quinze & Milan. Conference table: Asplund, Dynamobel. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Rosebrand, Howe, Vitra. Architectural woodworking: Miller Blaker. Signage: Graphic Systems Group.

where
Location: Astoria, N.Y. Total floor area: 50,000 sq. ft. (existing), 47,700sq. ft. (new construction). No. of floors: 3. Avg floor size: 25,000 sq ft. Total staff size: 55. Cost: $67 million.

 


Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
*Username: 
*Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 




follow us

advertisement


advertisement






advertisement


advertisement




Contract Magazine is devoted to highlighting creative interior design trends and ideas that are shaping the industry on a daily basis. Contract is proud to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage of commercial interior design products and resources that procure uniqueness when designing a space. Contract is the modern interior design magazine that recognizes fresh interior design ideas and projects powerful interior design resources.

 

Contract Magazine Home | Interior Design News | Interior Planning Products | Interior Design Research | Interior Design Competitions | Interior Design Resources | Interactive Interior Designing | Digital/Print Versions | Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us | Advertising Opportunities | Subscriber FAQs | RSS | Sitemap

© Emerald Expositions 2014. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy