When Rochelle Slovin set out for an expansion project of a 1988 building set at the former site for Astoria Motion Picture and Television Centre, it was clear to her that only an architect from New York would be able to optimize the design according to the potential of the site.
Project Typology : Museum (Interactive)
Project Location : Astoria, Queens, US
Year of Completion : 2011
Architects : Leeser Architecture
Project Cost : $67 million
Height : 56 ft
Project Area :97,700 sqft
Her commitment to young artists and designers led her to pick out Thomas Leeser for the job. The former museum evolved for about three years into a $67 million structure with almost double its size, from 50,000 to 97,700 sqft, with a plethora of new spaces.
The Museum of the Moving Image is an internationally acclaimed institution dedicated to exploring the history and technology of the art of the ‘moving image’. In the beginning, it occupied one out of the thirteen buildings in the former Astoria Studio complex, renovated by Gwathmey Siegel and Associated Architects. On January 15, 2011, the new, stunningly modern, and versatile museum building opened its doors to the public. It now houses a 267-seat theatre, Video Screening Amphitheatre, a 68-screen room, and for the climax, a 4100 sqft gallery for changing exhibitions.
Standing at 35 Avenue, you face a grid of transparent and mirrored glass with three and a half feet tall letters spelling out “Museum of the Moving Image”. Due to the site being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, alterations to the exterior were limited. As you enter the Hearst Lobby, you are welcomed by canted walls engaged in a cyclical narrative through 50-feet-long panoramic video screenings. To the right is the museum shop.
Across the light blue polyester floor is the Moving Image Café opposite to which is a gathering space beneath a sloped ceiling. Alongside the gathering space run two stepped ‘tunnels’ clad in Yves Klein blue which open into the Sumner M. Redstone Theatre. A crooked, hot pink opening in the wall leads to the Celeste and Armand Bartos screening room, a dusky, 68-seater space adorned with a grey, acoustical wall surface.
If you wish to enter the Ann and Andrew Tisch Education Centre, move to the west until you see the rear façade- thin aluminium panels neatly cut into triangles and mounted onto a support structure with open joints. You will find yourself standing in the George S. Kaufman Courtyard, the venue for multiple screenings, art installations, and live events during summers; and, the access to the Education Centre of the museum which serves about 50,000 students every year. To the left of the entrance lobby is the William Fox Amphitheatre for student orientation, followed by a ramped passage to the café.
The Sumner M. Redstone Theatre is clad all around by 1,136 triangular felt surfaces integrated with lighting between the joints. It features a screen and projection equipment that can run all formats- from 16mm to 70mm, HD, and Digital 3D.
Across the entrance to the theatre stands a grand staircase, leading into a 1,700 sqft Video Screening Amphitheatre. On the second floor is a small exhibition gallery, a second entrance of the theatre and the Behind the Screen exhibition which spans across 15,000 sqft on two floors.
At the climax of the staircase, and the museum, stands the gallery of changing exhibitions that presents a wide range, from screen culture artifacts to digital media installations. The space for collection storage resides beside it, which interests an international crowd of research enthusiasts with more than 130,000 objects related to the world of the moving image.
The use of reflective roofing recycled and regional materials and has an optimized system for electrical and water supply and efficient air quality measures which have awarded it a Silver Rating by LEED.